SBJ/April 26 - May 2, 2004/Facilities

HOK faces ‘fast schedule’ for Jackson’s $28M ballpark

HOK Sport is designing a $28 million minor league baseball facility for the Atlanta Braves’ Class AA affiliate in suburban Jackson, Miss.

The Greenville (S.C.) Braves announced earlier this month that the team is moving to the town of Pearl, five miles southeast of Jackson, and will be renamed the Mississippi Braves.

The ballpark is slated to open next April, said HOK’s Bruce Miller, the project director. “It’s a fast schedule, about 12 months,” he said. “We already have equipment on site.”

Miller said the ballpark will feature a recessed seating bowl, an open concourse and an 18-foot high climbing wall behind center field.

Braves’ Class AA farm team will move to new 6,000-seat stadium in Pearl, Miss., in 2005.
HOK is teaming with architect Doug Dale & Associates and builder W.G. Yates & Sons Construction, two local firms.

The 6,000-seat stadium with 24 suites will have other design elements that are similar to Turner Field in Atlanta, including boardwalk games and a restaurant along the right-field line.

“We’re doing that on purpose because there are a large number of Braves fans in the area,” said Tim Bennett, a consultant with Overtime Sports and an investor in the stadium project.

His firm committed to spending $2.3 million in private money for the project. Overtime Sports signed a 20-year lease agreement with the city.

Bennett will make payments from revenue generated through Overtime Sports’ scheduling 20 college baseball games annually at the ballpark. Bennett said he is negotiating those deals.

The Atlanta Braves, who own the team, will contribute an undisclosed amount toward construction, Bennett said.

The city of Pearl will collect parking revenue and a $1 ticket surcharge to help retire the ballpark debt, and the state has committed tax incentives and tourism money, he said.

The ballpark will be part of an existing retail and entertainment complex. The Riverwind development already includes six restaurants, two hotels and a 17-screen movie theater. The stadium’s master plan includes a 135,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops, Miller said. The store should open within six months after the stadium makes its debut.

Murray Wikol, president of Bloomfield Properties LLC, is developer for Bass Pro Shops, a $40 million project. He previously worked with real estate development firm Hammes Co., which helped create additional revenue sources for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions’ stadiums.

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Atlanta Braves, Baseball

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