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Sugar Land gets its stadium

They’ve been working on it for over two years now, and at long last, the city of Sugar Land has struck a deal to build a minor league baseball stadium.

The project promises to create 120 jobs, generate $7.7 million and draw 300,000 visitors annually, according to the deal between the city and Opening Day Partners, a Lancaster, Pa.-based ballpark developer that also owns and operates minor league baseball teams.

“Sugar Land is a great spot. This ballpark here is going to be the best,” said Brooks Robinson, a Major League Hall of Famer who is an ODP partner. “I’ve seen the enthusiasm the city has for it. I’ve had a chance to meet a lot of people here. The vibes I get are fantastic.”

The project is estimated at $40 million, including $30 million in construction, of which the city will pitch in $25 million and the company $5 million.

In the remaining costs, the city will spend $5 million for site and parking development while the company will put in $5 million for project startup and team franchising.

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Planners have yet to map out an exact location for the facility among three possible sites, but are leaning toward a tract leased from the University of Houston System at U.S. 59 and University Boulevard.

City officials believe the stadium would become a “regional draw” and help establish Sugar Land as a tourist destination.

Regina Morales, the city’s director of economic development, said the project would spark further development around it.

“The long-term economic benefits will not only benefit Sugar Land, but also the surrounding area,” City Manager Allen Bogard said.

I recommend you have a chat with Andrew Zimbalist before you go putting any of that into future budget projections. The team will be from the independent Atlantic League, with a 140-game schedule. I figure I’ll trek out there some day in 2012 to see the place for myself. Minor league baseball has a unique vibe that you have to experience to understand, and if they do it right it ought to be a hoot. Construction will start in March, with the inevitable team-naming contest to follow. Anyone want to get a head start on that and suggest what the future franchise should call itself?

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8 Comments

  1. Dean says:

    Sugar Land… a tourist destination… thanks for a good chuckle in the morning.

  2. Michael says:

    As someone who grew up in Sugar Land, this is a great story. I’ve seen other discussions about the team name, and the best name I’ve seen was the Sugar Land Imperials. It ties nicely with the sugar, and they already have a logo option that is carved into the freeway overpasses out there.

  3. John Cobarruvias says:

    Screwed.
    Destined for Failure

  4. Cb says:

    Of course-The Sugar Land Express!

  5. TonyB says:

    This is not a good idea. The Astros aren’t going to move a franchise here. AA Corpus is the only logical choice and I don’t see them moving them because it would shrink their region coverage. Nor will the Astros allow another team to put a franchise here. Having an MLB franchise is the best way to sustain revenue and, therefore, a team.

    Indy leagues don’t do well outside their native areas and the Atlantic League only has teams in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. Sugar Land would be better off joining the United League or the Continental League (the offshoots of the old TXLA league from the 90’s), as both are more local so expenses (travel) would be more manageable.

    Plus, from what I can find, the Sugar Land team is the only known team yet in the Atlantic’s expansion. Not good.

  6. […] location for the Sugar Land baseball stadium has been chosen. Sugar Land City Council has chosen an area near the northeast corner of Hwy. 6 […]

  7. […] baseball experiences in Fort Worth and New Orleans to what we might expect in Sugar Land with its forthcoming stadium. Here’s the introduction: Both cities provide key comparisons to Sugar Land that […]

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