Posts tagged with "Major League Baseball":

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Seven unbuilt stadiums are brought to life in renderings

Ticket retailer Vivid Seats teamed up with NeoMam Studios, a content marketing agency, to produce renderings of proposed baseball stadiums that could have transformed cities across the U.S. had they actually been built. The extremely realistic visualizations, posted last week on Vivid Seat's blog, show what the buildings would look like in 2018 in their urban contexts. Many of the stadiums incorporate space-age futurist features, like the glass bubble of the Brooklyn Dome, or the sliding The Shed-esque canopy of the Pontiac Dome. Ultimately, these expensive flourishes may have been what doomed the projects—many of these structures would be barely feasible with today's technology and budgets, much less with what was available fifty years ago, when some of them were proposed. The detail of the renderings has a way of making all of the designs look reasonable, though, and even the most Jetsons-y designs seem to fit into their modern settings. And given the superlatives other football stadiums have recently reached, these designs don't seem like long shots.
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Tampa Bay Rays reveal plans for a pillowy Populous ballpark

Move over Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Rays are the latest Floridian sports franchise to build big. The baseball team announced last week that it would be pursuing plans for an ambitious, $892 million ballpark in Tampa designed by Populous, but details of how the team would pay for the project are still scarce. Tropicana Field, the Rays’ current home in neighboring St. Petersburg, is the MLB’s smallest and the Rays frequently measure dead last in average home field attendance rates. The Rays have conceded a new stadium isn’t technically necessary, but they want to use the new scheme to drum up attendance and enthusiasm. The stadium has been proposed for downtown Tampa’s nationally landmarked Ybor City district, about 20 miles from Tropicana Field. Despite the price tag, the new ballpark would remain the smallest in the league and only seat approximately 30,000, about the same as the Rays’ current home. Capacity isn’t the potential ball park’s draw; that lies in the location and more exciting design. The proposed ballpark’s most distinctive features are the dramatic tilt and swoop of the roofline and the non-retractable glass dome that would enclose the field, reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s Dodger Dome. The structural cross-bracing on the underside of the translucent dome would resemble a coffered ceiling when seen from below. Clear glass panels would rise closer to the outfield and meet the lip of the dome as it wrapped around the building. A massive sunshade has been proposed for the backside of the roof, where most of the seating would be. The glass ceiling alone is projected to cost around 30 percent of the project’s nearly $900 million budget. The Rays would also create a multi-level retail podium around the ballpark’s base, with the field itself sitting in the middle and anchoring the development. The buildings at ground level would feature sliding glass walls capable of retracting during nicer weather. The principal owner of the Rays, Stuart Sternberg, explained to the Chicago Tribune that the move was part of the team’s attempt at leaving a legacy in Tampa, which is why the new plan bucks what might be expected of a stadium proposal. The team has admitted that the renderings are, in part, designed to drum up public and private investment in the new stadium. The team will reportedly contribute anywhere from $150 to $400 million to the project depending on whether they can secure a naming rights purchase, but taxpayers could ultimately be responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in bond debt depending on how a deal shapes up. The Rays are aiming to open the field in time for the 2023 season.
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Oakland makes a two-pronged pitch to keep the Athletics

There is hope yet that despite losing the Raiders to Las Vegas and the Warriors to San Francisco, Oakland will be able to keep its professional baseball team in the city over the coming years. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaff signed a select agreement today with the Oakland Athletics that would position the city to deal exclusively with the team as they look for a new home somewhere along the Oakland waterfront. The agreement was announced during a press conference attended by the mayor and team president David Kaval. The Oakland Athletics are currently in the process of figuring out what to do and where to go as their aging stadium—currently shared with the Raiders—prepares to lose the football team in either 2021 or 2022. “We are trying to make sure we retain as many options as possible so we can remain ‘rooted in Oakland,’” Kaval said, according to Mercury News. The city of Oakland currently owns the site of the Oakland Coliseum, the last remaining dual-purpose professional sports stadium in the country, which the Athletics are interested in purchasing outright. The team has expressed interest in the 120-acre site, including the adjacent Oracle Arena basketball stadium, in an effort to establish ownership of their playing facilities. The current facilities are easily accessible to the region’s mass transit system and feature extensive surface parking. Estimates put the cost of buying the property at $135 million. But the athletics are also interested potentially in relocating entirely to a site roughly two miles away called Howard Terminal. Howard Terminal is an existing shipping port that is due for redevelopment. The team has been scoping out a variety of sites in the area as well, including a recently abandoned plan to potentially relocate to the nearby Peralta Community College campus. The scheme was abandoned when its announcement drew forth a great deal of heated opposition when first made public earlier this year. The city’s exclusive agreement allows the municipality to help the Athletics pursue both options concurrently. After today’s meeting, Schaaf said, “I am so excited to be supporting exclusive negotiating agreements at both the Coliseum and at Howard Terminal so that we double our changes to [keep the team].” City and team leaders are hoping to have a final purchase agreement for one of e sites by the end of the year.
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A full-block stadium district comes to downtown Denver

Following the recent opening of Stantec Architecture’s first Wrigley Field-adjacent development in Chicago, the firm’s Colorado office is following suit with the announcement of a mixed-use project next to Denver’s Coors Field that will take up an entire city block. Because the West Lot project is aiming to better integrate the Coors Stadium into lower downtown Denver as well as supplement the stadium’s offerings, the project will be developed and paid for by the Colorado Rockies. Representing the last open parcel of land in downtown Denver adjacent to Coors Stadium, West Lot will occupy a full block between 19th and Wazee street, and directly connect to the stadium across the street. Referencing the way that arenas direct viewers’ attention to a centralized event, the project will use what Stantec refers to as a ground-level “context plaza” to both anchor the surroundings and offer amphitheater-style seating to the public. The landscaped courtyard will also thread through and connect the three buildings that curve around it. “The plaza is designed as a pre- and post-game gathering place for Rockies fans, complete with unique restaurants and state of the art audio and visual systems,” said Larry Weeks, principal at Stantec. The buildings on the three-acre site are a mix of glass and brick and include a double-height glass sky bridge complete with amenity space on top, with plans to project ongoing games on its underside. Other than the plaza, West Lot will hold an unspecified amount of hospitality, office, residential, retail, entertainment, and concessions space, in addition to a new Colorado Rockies Hall of Fame facility. Similar to the Wrigley Field developments, visitors will be able to seamlessly move between the stadium and the adjoining public space. “Beyond baseball, the plaza will serve as Denver’s ‘outdoor room,’ a year-round space that can accommodate neighborhood concerts, festivals and other activities,” said Daniel Aizenman, senior principal at Stantec. Currently undergoing the first steps of a government review, construction on the project is expected to begin in the second half of 2018, with no estimated completion date available.
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Texas Rangers unveil new stadium by HKS

Go Rangers, go! HKS has released renderings for its new Texas Rangers stadium as well as a design update for the new complex, dubbed the Globe Life Field. The seats at the 1.7-million-square-foot baseball stadium are closer to the field and lower than traditional stadium seating to bring a capacity crowd of 41,000 fans as close as possible to the action. A retractable, transparent roof can flood the field with sunlight or close up for inclement weather, but even when open, the roof's baffles and shields block players from direct sunlight. Arches along the upper concourse are turned 90 degrees to increase transparency along the thoroughfare, while the stadium entry is set off with an overhang – a nod to the traditional Texas front porch. Total cost? A cool $1.1 billion. Dallas-based HKS also designed the L.A. Rams stadium, which at $2.66 billion has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the world's most expensive stadium to date. Technicians punched 20 million holes in the facade's 36,000 perforated aluminum panels, eliminating the need for an HVAC system (and driving project costs sky-high). The complex is expected to be finished by 2019. Back in Texas, the groundbreaking for the 13-acre Rangers site is scheduled for this Thursday, September 28. Games at the Dallas–Fort Worth-area Globe Life Field will begin in the 2020 baseball season.
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Chicago Cubs open the first of their major developments near Wrigley Field

In recent years, Cubs baseball fans have watched as the neighborhood immediately surrounding their beloved Wrigley Field transformed into a Cubs-themed village. A new hotel, residential real estate, and entertainment venues are making the area a year-round destination. Nearest and dearest to the stadium though is a new mid-rise office building and a public plaza. Designed by Stantec Architecture’s Chicago office, the project shares an odd-shaped block with the stadium and houses the baseball team’s administrative offices.

While the space is everything you might expect of a new office (with the addition of plenty of Cubs branding and some appropriately ivy-covered walls), it is the public plaza, currently being called the Park, that is creating the most buzz.

Debuted for the 2017 Cubs home opener, the Park is wedged between the stadium and the new office building. The ground floor of the office building houses a handful of stores and food and drinking options, but the plaza itself was designed to be used for more than just pregame events. Tiered seating, strategic plantings, and performance space provide opportunities to watch scheduled programs or just take in Wrigley’s atmosphere. Stantec took cues from Place des Vosges, in Paris, and Chicago’s Millennium Park when designing the Park, with the goal of making it more than just an entrance to the stadium.

“When we first dreamt about what the plaza could be, we wanted it to be more than just a walkway people pass through on game day,” said Grace Rappe, principal designer at Stantec. “We wanted to create a park for memories, a place for the community to gather and thrive.”

In its first year, the Park has already seen plans put in place to activate the space when there is not a game being played. The Old Town School of Folk Music has started biweekly morning and afternoon music programs. The nearby art-house Music Box Theatre will also be hosting six of the city’s “Movies in the Park”—the first of which will be, appropriately, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Rookie of the Year and The Sandlot are also on deck.

However, not everyone has had the same vision for the space. Local alderman Tom Tunney pushed, with some success, for a handful of restrictions on the use of the Park, citing the well-being of the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Ald. Tunney was able to establish rules about who could drink alcohol in the Park on game days, and when. Currently, only ticket holders will be allowed onto the plaza immediately before and after the game, and barriers and bike racks have been set up to control the crowds. This did not make the Cubs administration too happy.

“I want to apologize to our fans when they show up today; they’re going to see bike racks and other things that channel them in and out of the Park, rather than walk in and let them enjoy it,” Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations, said to the press on opening day. “So we’ll try that for the first year and see how that works. Nobody has more to lose than we do if something happens that is untoward, and so we’ll police like we do everywhere else around Wrigley Field.”

Kenney had other words for the city, which he felt could have provided more financial support for the project, as it is part of a larger $500 million renovation of the entire complex.

“The mayor made clear the city could not give us the kind of financial support the White Sox got in rebuilding Comiskey Park or the Bears got renovating Soldier Field,” Kenney said.

Despite the financial discussion, the Cubs were openly grateful to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was on hand at the ribbon cutting. While the city has not provided the tax and financial backing the team had hoped, it has provided support through the temporary and permanent closing of multiple streets surrounding the stadium. 

Exactly what the Park’s role will be in the greater Wrigleyville neighborhood may still be up for debate, but, for the Cubs, the new space is a chance to reach out and bring the community a little closer. And timing couldn’t be better: With the Cubs winning the last World Series and effectively having the best season in the stadium’s 103-year history, much of the city is already going Cubs crazy.

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Texas Rangers unveil HKS as the architecture firm behind their new Arlington, Texas ballpark

Dallas-based architecture firm HKS has been chosen to design a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers baseball team in Arlington, Texas. The stadium will be constructed as a public-private partnership between the team and the City of Arlington: It will serve as the Rangers' home field and as a multipurpose arena for high school, college, and international sports. As the design phase wraps up, images and information from a press release reveal that the field will offer a retractable roof for shading and climate control purposes and will be interwoven with the adjacent Texas Live! entertainment district that is currently in development. Costs so far are estimated at $1 billion with the City of Arlington's contribution limited to $500 million. The Rangers' current home, Globe Life Park, which is also in Arlington, is owned by the team on a 30-year lease from the city. This is due to end in 2024, but as per a new agreement between the Rangers and Arlington, their partnership for the new arena will continue until 2054. 22 years ago, HKS was the architect of record when the Rangers first moved into Globe Park in 1994. “For us, the new Texas Rangers Ballpark development is very special. It carries its own rich identity based on a combination of tradition, heritage, character and ambition that will ultimately represent itself as the premier destination in North Texas,” said Bryan Trubey, HKS executive vice president and principal designer on the project, in a press release. “We are delighted to be part of this exciting new development that will impact not only the Texas Rangers and their fans, but the city of Arlington and the entire region for many years to come.” Meanwhile, Rangers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Rob Matwick added: “HKS’ vision for this new facility will incorporate all of the features that will make this venue the best in Major League Baseball. We look forward to working with them to achieve that result.”
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Welcome To The Big League

Just in time for the beginning of the 2010 season, Major League Baseball has spiffed up and expanded its headquarters and the office of its commissioner at 245 Park Ave. Conducted by Butler Rogers Baskett Architects (BBB) and exhibit design firm C&G Partners, the redesign included the addition of a 24,000-square-foot conference center on a full new floor. Aside from bringing the HQ into the 21st century with up-to-date teleconferencing equipment, the designers went out of their way to make every surface in the place scream baseball. Base-like fabrics, baseball stitching in leather panels, ash wood conference tables, carpet and terrazzo flooring reminiscent of the grass, dirt, and chalk lines of the baseball diamond, all conspire to transport visitors straight to the ballpark. Even the procession through the space evokes the stadium experience: An angled hall leads from a compact elevator lobby to a solitary oversized door that opens onto a spacious reception area anchored with a backstoop-shaped module. Glass walls are etched with baseball statistics, seasonal displays exhibit selections from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, video screens stream information from MLB's website, and baseball news flashes across LED tickers. There are baseball graphics and murals by C&G, mannequins adorned with American and National League uniforms, vinyl-padded panels like those on an outfield wall, a giant picture of Jackie Robinson stealing home in the first game of the 1955 World Series. "The overall design pays tribute to the grit, spirit, and passionate tradition of America's favorite pastime within an environment of the highest aesthetic refinement," said Keith Helmetag, a partner at C&G. "We incorporated design details that were non-literal, that don't scream 'baseball' but contain subtle references that capture the playful nature of the sport," said Jeff Knol, BRB's project designer.