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Cherry Trees at the Ballpark for Nationals PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 13 March 2007 11:45

New Nationals BallparkIf a cherry tree falls at the ballpark and no one was around to hear it, did it really fall?

Washington, DC has been known for its cherry trees, and starting in 2008, the Washington Nationals will add to that flavoring. That's because the club plans on planting George Washington's favorite target in their new ballpark. As reported by the AP:

"We couldn't find another ballpark that had trees in the ballpark," team president Stan Kasten said Tuesday at the launch of a campaign to sell luxury suites.

As to whether the targeted 2008 opening day for the new facility being open is in jeopardy, "There's no question it's going to open on time," Kasten said.

 
Miami Backs County on New Marlins Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Saturday, 10 March 2007 02:15

Proposed Marlins FacilityEarlier this week, Miami-Dade County commissioners backed funding for a new $490 million facility for the Florida Marlins, with the caveat that it would be non-site specific funding. The move was made to allow the site for the stadium to be moved to a location next to the Orange Bowl. On Thursday, the City of Miami backed the plan. As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

City commissioners and Mayor Manny Diaz said they hope the vote will convince the state Legislature to approve a $60 million state sales tax rebate to close the financing gap. Bills that would provide the rebate are making their way through the Legislature.

"I think the state ought to take this as a strong resolution from the local governments down here that we're very supportive, we want a stadium here, we want them to finish the last piece in Tallahassee," Diaz said.

The idea of the Orange Bowl surfaced when officials learned UM is considering a move to Dolphin Stadium. That decision isn't expected until late April or early May, as the city is still determining if it can finance a major renovation of the Orange Bowl that Hernandez estimates could cost $170 million. The city has $84 million and is exploring other revenue sources.

To view renderings of the proposed Marlins facility, select this link

 
Goodyear Signs MOU to Build Indians Ballpark Village PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 09 March 2007 07:07
Cleveland IndiansThe City of Goodyear today approved the fourth and final major agreement that will bring the Cleveland Indians back to the Cactus League and catalyze economic development surrounding its planned City Center.

The City Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Goodyear Baseball LLC, an entity jointly owned by Goodyear-based development company Rose Properties Southwest and San Diego-based JMI Sports LLC, to manage the design, development and construction of the planned 10,000-seat ballpark and Spring Training complex.

The Spring Training complex will anchor a larger, 240-acre private development planned by Rose Properties Southwest in partnership with the Wood family, a fourth generation West Valley farming family and owners of the land.

The project, described as a "ballpark village," is expected to include Class A office space, retail shops, restaurants, loft-style housing, a hotel and a conference center.

Read more...
 
Solution over Twins Ballpark Site Could be in the Offing PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Thursday, 08 March 2007 02:54

New Twins BallparkThe impasse over the value of the preferred 8-acre parcel for the proposed Twins stadium may have found a creative solution: A proposed parking ramp for players, coaches and upscale ticketholders next to the new Minnesota Twins stadium.

The deal, which would allow granting development rights above the ramp to the landowners is seen as a method for bridging the millions of dollars that separate the two parties. As reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune:

Details of the ramp proposals remain sketchy.

However, the ramp's importance could come from granting development rights above it to the landowners, who could, for example, generate revenue by building condominiums atop the two-level ramp. Downtown Council President Sam Grabarski said including the ramp in a land agreement could provide Land Partners II and Hines Interests, the two companies that own and control the stadium site, with additional compensation to bridge the sale-price gap between the county and the landowners.

Although no deal appears imminent, county officials were optimistic enough about the progress being made that they suggested that a land deal and other critical stadium agreements could come before the County Board as early as March 27.

As for meeting the projected opening date for the new ballpark, "The 2010 opening date is not in jeopardy at this point in time," said Rick Johnson, the county's ballpark project coordinator.

 
Marlins Proposed Downtown Miami Site Hits Snag PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 04:29

Proposed Marlins FacilityThe Miami-Dade County Commission threw a curveball at the proposed downtown Miami site location for a new facility for the Marlins yesterday. Eight of the 13 commissioners spoke against the proposal, saying that the "nine-acre site was too small, that it wouldn't re-energize the area and that it would rely on community redevelopment money that should be spent elsewhere."

Commissioner José ''Pepe'' Diaz then agreed with the Commission to shift the funding proposal so as to not be site specific, opening the door to exploring a site that had been looked at prior: The Orange Bowl.

As reported by the Miami Herald:

Commissioners then voted 11-1 to send that plan to Tallahassee, in hopes that the state Legislature will vote to fill in a $30 million gap in the $490 million stadium project. Commissioner Katy Sorenson voted against it. Commissioner Javier Souto was absent.

''I think what's important at the end of the day is that baseball stays,'' Diaz said before the vote.

MLB officials have been working diligently behind the scenes to get the ballpark at the downtown location. Some were in attendance, including MLB Executive Vice President John McHale who left the chamber after the vote without commenting about the amended plan.

To see design renderings of the proposed Marlins facility, click here

 
San Diego to Save $93M Through Petco Park Refinancing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Press Release   
Tuesday, 06 March 2007 07:10

Petco ParkAt the recommendation of Mayor Jerry Sanders, the City [of San Diego] has officially executed a refinancing agreement with Bank of America N.A. to refinance its downtown ballpark bonds. The $156.6 million fixed-rate lease revenue refunding bond issuance will save the City $93 million during the term of the new bonds. The new plan is part of the Mayor’s call for a more aggressive approach to reduce costs and improve financial management practices.

The new bond issuance will retire the original debt incurred during the construction of the ballpark and will save the City approximately $3.7 million in each year of the new 25-year bond financing schedule.

This private refinancing plan takes advantage of growing confidence in the City’s financial standing and includes a unique “revaluation” option that could save the City even more money once it can return to the public finance marketplace. Mayor Sanders brought the refinancing proposal to the City Council in January of this year. The Council adopted the Financing Ordinance authorizing and approving the issuance of the bonds on January 30, 2007.

Yesterday, following completion of a 30-day validation period, the bonds were priced at a true  interest cost of 4.8 percent based on today’s MMD Index. The annual debt service on the refunding bonds is $11.3 million for Fiscal Year 2008 through Fiscal Year 2032. This translates into gross and net present value savings of $93 million and $51.6 million, respectively, when compared to the original debt service on the original ballpark bonds.

“This is the kind of thoughtfully aggressive approach we need for every one of our financial obligations at the City,” said Mayor Sanders. “This bond refinancing will save the City more than 25 percent of the original financing costs of the ballpark and will help to rebuild our financial capabilities for the future.”

When the City issued the original bonds it was facing significant litigation regarding the ballpark project. That litigation caused uncertainty about the tax-exempt status of the original bonds forcing interest rates much higher than other comparable tax-exempt lease revenue bonds at the time.

“The City paid a steep penalty for those original bonds,” said Mayor Sanders. “From the outset of my administration I have directed our financial management team to do everything they could to get us a better deal. Now we have done just that. By creatively pursuing our private financing options with regard to the ballpark bonds, the City has removed a huge financial burden and over the long haul will have freed up a significant amount of funds that will be able to be allocated to other important projects.”

With the successful pricing of the bonds completed, the remaining event required to complete the execution of the financing transaction is the closing of the bond issuance, which is currently scheduled for March 12, 2007.

Select this link to read a PDF version of the press release from Mayor Sanders

 
Battle Over Nationals Ballpark Land Costs Still On-Going PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 05 March 2007 16:25

New Nationals BallparkA battle over land costs where the new Nationals stadium is rising is still occurring, almost a year after a D.C. judge ordered a group of small-business owners to abandon a 20-acre site in Southeast Washington, and the ballpark on track to open in 2008.

While the business owners complied with the judge's ruling, the battle over what is deemed a fair price for the land continues in the courts. As reported by the Washington Post:

When the District announced plans to build the ballpark, city attorneys began negotiating with 23 property owners to buy their properties. A handful of owners agreed to sell, but the majority held out for more money, and the city seized their land through eminent domain.

The city offered $98 million for all the properties, including about $84 million for those being seized through legal actions. Judge Joan Zeldon agreed last year to transfer the land to the city so the stadium could move forward, but she allowed the business owners to continue their pursuit of additional money.

The businesses that are fighting include an asphalt plant, a trash transfer station and a bus garage. Collectively, the owners are seeking tens of millions of dollars more than the city offered, and the outcome of the negotiations or trials could drive up the cost of the stadium project.

 
Twins Preferred Ballpark Site May Wind Up Costing Them PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 05 March 2007 01:30

New Twins BallparkThe preferred site location for the new Twins ballpark may require the club pitching in for land costs.

Hennepin Co. officials have told the Twins that to build on the preferred site location, it will likely require that they assist in paying for the land. As an alternative, six other sites in Minneapolis are being explored as options should the preferred site fall through. The deal is hinging on a stalemate between owners of the land and Hennepin Co. and the Twins regarding the value of the land where the stadium would sit. Public funds only allocate $90 million for the 8-acre stadium site, and land owners feel that is far below market value.  As reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune:

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, the lead stadium negotiator for the County Board, said he has tentatively identified six sites that could serve as a substitute location for the 40,000-seat, open-air ballpark.

The sites, he said, include a 40-acre parcel near the new Target Co. campus in Brooklyn Park, property owned by the Star Tribune near the Metrodome, and the Farmers Market on the near North Side of downtown Minneapolis.

 
Proposed Site Location for A's Next to Toxic Factory PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 02:17

Cisco FieldThe Cisco System property in Fremont, CA that the Oakland A's have selected as the proposed site location for a new 32,000-seat stadium amid a village of townhouses, shops, restaurants and a hotel would sit directly next to a factory that produces highly toxic materials used to make computer chips, officials said. As reported by the AP:

Fremont officials told A's owner Lew Wolff last year that he would need to buy and relocate the plant or mitigate the potential hazards posed by Scott Specialty Gases, which is across the street from the envisioned ballpark village.

An accident at Scott Gas could create a cloud of deadly arsine floating as far as seven-tenths of a mile away from the plant, according to city hazard plans showing the "worst-case scenario."

Wolff and representatives for Scott Gas declined to comment.

 
Miami-Dade Co. Unveils Marlins Ballpark Financing Plan PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 08:19

Proposed Marlins facility Miami-Dade County has made the plans for a new Marlins ballpark in downtown Miami public Tuesday. The $490 million facility adjacent to and on the north side of Government Center would be funded through the combination of Miami-Dade Co., the Florida Marlins, and the state of Florida. As reported by the Miami Herald:

The Marlins' out-of-pocket contribution comes to $45 million. The team would also repay the county $162 million in bonds issued by the county, through rent; the county would pay another $145 million from a combination of tourist taxes; Miami's input would be $108 million from tourist taxes and revenues that used to go to Miami Arena.

The still missing link: $30 million from the state Legislature, which has teased the team with bills for the past few years, some of which have died on the floor as the legislative session ended.

The $30 million gap still has many hurdles, but word is that there is backing to breach the gap through legislative channels. As noted within the article, "At least so far, and with the session beginning Monday, it has the backing of several legislators and Gov. Charlie Crist."

Select the image above to see a high-res version of it. For more images of the proposed Marlins facility, select this link  

 
Auditors Slam MSA for Poor Management Practices PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 26 February 2007 07:51

Camden YardsState auditors in Maryland released a report last week, slamming the Maryland Sports Authority (MSA) for a variety of management moves - including the payment of $42,000 for less than an hour of consulting services to a former executive director who left under an ethical cloud. As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

In other conclusions, the auditors said the state agency, which owns and operates the two stadiums in the Camden Yards complex, did not adequately pursue $1.7 million in rent the state believes is owed by the Orioles but disputed by the team.

The audit also complains that the authority failed to properly seek competitive bids on a $7.6 million building renovation - a job the agency said was legally bid and completed under budget.

The auditors also noted $282,000 in severance payments granted without proper guidelines or approval from its board. In one case, a top executive with 15 months of service received $104,000, or six months' salary, while an eight-year maintenance worker received two weeks' pay, amounting to $1,100.
 
PNC Park to Get New LED Video Display PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 21 February 2007 05:50

PNC ParkThe Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that the ballclub will install a larger video display for its main scoreboard and add a new light emitting diode (LED) fascia display that will span the ballpark's upper deck.

With it, the new main scoreboard display will have the capability of more than doubling the size of the current video display, as well as splitting into multiple windows to show lineups, statistics, out-of-town game information, animation, video clips and much more.

The Pirates partnered with Daktronics to upgrade the ballpark's video displays in time for the 2007 Home Opener on April 9 when the Pirates take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:35 p.m.

The enhanced main scoreboard display is ProStar® technology and HD-ready. It will have an active area measuring approximately 35 feet high by 82 feet wide, with more than 160 percent greater size and resolution. It will use the latest in full-color LED technology to show a single, wide screen image, or be split into multiple windows to show the latest game information.

The existing video display on the main scoreboard will be disassembled and reconfigured, with additional new display modules, to form a 'ribbon' LED video display across PNC Park's upper deck. The new ProAd® fascia display will span 960 feet from foul pole to foul pole and measure approximately 3 feet in height.
 
Marlins Ballpark Funding Passes Hurdle PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 21 February 2007 00:56

Marlins New StadiumTuesday, two bills designed to help publicly finance a new stadium for the Florida Marlins passed a hurdle in the Florida Legislature. The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved the bills that would provide $60 million in state money for the project.

The votes mark the earliest in the year that legislators have taken action on state funding for a ballpark. As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

The bills, sponsored by Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, would let the Marlins keep $2 million in state sales tax for 30 years to help pay for a new stadium. Diaz de la Portilla's bill has more safeguards to protect taxpayers, such as requiring the Marlins to reimburse 150 percent of the money they receive should they leave early.

The passage is far from a guarantee that funding will be passed in total as a series of sports related funding bills are weaving their way through the Florida Legislature, and it will remain to be seen how the Marlins factor into the mix. 

See renderings of the proposed Marlins facility here on the Biz of Baseball

 
Suite Removal Becoming Trend Across Sports PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Sunday, 18 February 2007 01:07
New White Sox Suite design

There is a reversal of sorts occurring in sports business these days. In facilities across the Big-4 sports, off-seasons see construction crews tearing out walls and reconfiguring space, not to add luxury suites, but to remove them.

Russell Adams of the Wall Street Journal  writes (So long to the suite life), that the reasonings are due to factors as complex as how gifts are now viewed from a tax and political perspective, to businesses simply looking to maximize on their investments. As reported by WSJ:

When Seattle's Safeco Field was completed in 1999, the $517 million ballpark was a huge draw for a business community that included titans like Microsoft and Boeing. Those companies helped boost the team's revenue by more than $20 million a year by signing multi-year leases in the stadium's 68 suites. The suites, which sell for as much as $200,000 per season, are a key reason why the team went from struggling financially a decade ago to being one of the most profitable teams in Major League Baseball.

By 2003, the suites had become a tougher sell. For one thing, the pool of companies that needed or wanted to entertain 16 people at a time for 81 games was shrinking, according to Bob Aylward, the team's executive vice president of business operations. The Mariners made several moves to try to lift sagging demand. In 2003, the team began offering 10-game packages for some suites that previously had been sold on a 20-game, half- or full-season basis.

Then, late last year, following the lead of teams like the Tigers and Brewers, they knocked down eight of the suites and created a lounge where people could get all the food, drinks and other amenities of a suite but have it included in the price of a ticket. The new All-Star Club is a bit short on intimacy -- with a capacity of 140 people -- but it is $100 to $125 per game versus at least $17,000 for a 10-game suite package. The lounge has the potential to generate well over $1 million annually, which the team says would be a net gain because on a typical night 10 to 14 suites were sitting vacant. "We're smarter now than we were when we planned this facility," says Mr. Aylward.

A graphic is included in the article showing the number of suites in several facilities, the cost range for the suites, and work being done on the facilities on removal or reconfiguration of them (suite count represents new figure since construction). MLB related data is displayed below:

 TeamSuites
Cost
Comment
Mariners
   60
$87,150 - $199,000
Knocked out eight suites to create a luxury lounge called the All-Star Club
White Sox   93$85,000 - $110,000
The club recently got rid of 10 suites -- and says the current number of  93 is still probably too many
Brewers
   64
$100,000 - $105,000
Turned fives suites in a 240-person club to accommodate Wisconsin fans' penchant for group outings
Devil Rays
   64
$50,000 - $150,000
To boost sales, Rays are remodeling suites and offering up batting practice
Blue Jays
  131
$90,000 - $100,000
The club last year gutted 10 luxury suites to create meeting/party area
red Sox   40
$250,000 - $350,000
Upgrading boxes with flat-panel TVs, heated outdoor seats, surround sound and granite countertops.

 

 
Under Armour Inks Deal for Wrigley On-Field Ads PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Press Release   
Wednesday, 14 February 2007 11:51
Under Armour Ads at Wrigley FieldThe Chicago Cubs and Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UA) today announced a partnership that includes first-ever signage on two outfield doors in left and right field at historic Wrigley Field. The signage, 7-by-12 foot paintings of Under Armour's signature logo, will be in place in time for the Cubs' 2007 home opener on Monday, April 9 vs. Houston .

“We greatly appreciate the Chicago Cubs’ history and wanted to be part of their new direction and exciting future,” said Under Armour’s VP of Brand Steve Battista. “We’re thrilled to partner with such a storied ballclub as a symbol of their strong desire to improve on-field performance while blazing new trails with the franchise.” 

The deal comes on the heels of Under Armour’s recent growth on the baseball diamond, highlighted by the recent release of their first-ever line of baseball cleats.  Alfonso Soriano, the highly-touted free agent signed by the Cubs in the off-season, will wear Under Armour performance batting gloves and wristbands this coming season, and is featured prominently in the Cubs’ 2007 advertising.

“The Chicago Cubs’ mission is to develop a winning culture and our partnership with Under Armour reflects that vision,” said Jay Blunk, the Cubs’ Director, Marketing and Sales.  "The Cubs are committed to finding alternative and creative revenue streams to build the championship team our fans richly deserve." 

The partnership also gives Under Armour, known as the originator of moisture-wicking performance apparel worn by athletes on playing fields around the world, advertising rights to the signage behind home plate in Wrigley Field, the second-oldest ballpark in the country. The Under Armour logo is also featured in the country's oldest major league stadium, Boston ’s Fenway Park , where Under Armour shares space with on the Green Monster with sporting goods retailer, The Sports Authority.

Read more...
 
Rock Band The Police to Play at Fenway PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 13 February 2007 05:27

StingAfter playing at the Grammy's on Sunday, the reunited rock band, The Police will conduct a world tour with at least one, or more dates scheduled for Fenway Park. As reported by the Boston Herald:

As the band was dusting off old hits and playfully teasing each other, details of the Fenway Park show emerged. Tickets are priced at $55, $95 and $225. Starting today members of tour sponsor Best Buy’s Reward Zone will have first crack at scoring tickets through its Web site. Remaining tickets go on sale Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. through Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

 
With the next Police show after the Fenway stop slated for Aug. 1 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the addition of a rumored second show at Fenway on July 29 appears likely. The tour kicks off May 28 in Vancouver, Canada. 

 
Unveiling of New Twins Ballpark Design on Hold PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 13 February 2007 03:07

New Twins BallparkA turf battle over the market value for the land parcels selected for the new Minnesota Twins ballpark has created a delay in unveiling the design.

Club president Dave St. Peter said Monday that the Twins were planning on unveiling the renderings of the design (see current renderings here on The Biz of Baseball), but the presentation was tabled because of last week's decision by the board to postpone six major votes regarding the stadium originally scheduled for Feb. 27. As reported by the AP:

"Until there's some form of resolution between the county and the landowners, we're just going to sit tight," St. Peter said.

Due to the dispute, the county has said it has begun looking at alternative sites. A move would be difficult and require an amendment to the legislation passed last May authorizing a countywide sales tax for the $522 million stadium.

 
Land Battle Impacts New Twins Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Saturday, 10 February 2007 04:06

New Twins BallparkIn May of last year, Hennepin Co. passed legislation that provides an estimated $522 million in public funds for a new Minnesota Twins ballpark, through a  0.15 percent sales tax that went into effect on New Years Day.

Too bad that the legislation didn't provide a guideline for agreement on a purchase price for the land.

The Twins, Hennepin Co., and several land owners are locked in a battle over what is deemed to be a fair market price for the 10-acre site where the ballpark would be constructed. As reported by the AP:

On Jan. 22, a Hennepin County District judge ruled that the stadium served a "public purpose" under the law and authorized possible condemnation of property on the site.

Because the Legislature capped infrastructure costs at $90 million -- an arbitrary decision, according to the team -- the county is wary of paying too much for the land and leaving little money for road, transit and other improvements around the ballpark. After all it took to reach this point, nobody wants to build the stadium on the cheap, and the 10-acre site that was chosen just west of Target Center on the edge of downtown is a tight parcel of land that brings extra construction and design challenges.

The county appraised the value of the land at $13.35 million, but project leaders are hesitant to put faith in the eminent domain process because it could take too long or produce a ruling that the property is worth more money than the county has available under the $90 million cap.

The Twins hope to announce plans on the ballpark and break ground next month. The club has committed $130 million to the project. Land owners have agreed not to contest the eminent domain procedure, arguing that because of the county's spending cap the negotiation process is fundamentally flawed.

To see renderings of the new Twins ballpark design, view them here on The Biz of Baseball.  

 
St. Louis Board of Aldermen Approves Funding PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Friday, 09 February 2007 06:53

Cardinals Ballpark VilliageUPDATE: At just before noon local time, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave its final approval to bills connected to a Ballpark Village just outside new Busch Stadium on the remaining land where Busch II once stood. It will be one of the largest development projects in the history of downtown St. Louis.

The move paves the way for the Cardinals and developer Cordish Co., to break ground on the six-block entertainment district in the first half of the upcoming baseball season.

The bills approved today, which still require signature by the mayor, would make available $115 million in public funds.

The new bills introduced last week remove a requirement that Cordish Co. develop 250 residential units that were originally part of the first phase. As reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Cordish is seeking to build six blocks of signature restaurants, specialty stores, entertainment venues and office space next to the new Busch Stadium. The developer, which has built similar projects around the country, is partnering with the Cardinals organization, which owns the land.

In the midst of the World Series, the city and Cordish announced, to much fanfare, they had reached a deal in principle. Since then, a flurry of last-minute discussions pose potential changes to the project's scope.

In the first phase of the project, Cordish is now committed to 324,000 square feet of space for stores, restaurants and entertainment. That's about 10 percent less than the firm committed to originally. It would still build 100,000 square feet of offices and add 1,200 parking spaces.

 
Mets' Citi Field Beginning to Take Shape PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Friday, 09 February 2007 03:03
Citi Field ConstructionTake a trip to Shea Stadium these days, and there will be more than tailgating going on in the parking lot. That’s because the Mets’ new stadium, soon to be named Citi Field is taking shape (to see renderings of Citi Field, select here). With a scheduled 2009 opening date, construction is now fully in earnest outside of Shea’s walls. As reported by the NY Times:
By June, the entire first-level concourse is expected to be finished, and some of the exterior of the building will be up, too.
“We’re on schedule,” Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ senior executive vice president, said yesterday as he led a group of reporters who regularly cover the team around the construction site. “We may even be ahead of schedule.”

The backside of the ballpark will come later, and installing the dirt, grass and field will be among the final steps. Yesterday, home plate was indistinguishable from center field. Each was a pile of gravel.

Next week, the Mets will install a camera on mets.com that will show daily updates of the construction.
 
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