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.
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?