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> $28 million plan would polish The Diamond
The Kreature v2....
post Jun 11 2009, 12:00 AM
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The $28 million plan for transforming the Diamond on N. Boulevard includes removing the upper deck and wrapping the stadium in a brick facade.



Opening Day Partners today will release a $28 million plan for a "transformation" of The Diamond.

ODP, based in Annapolis, Md., last spring delivered a $40 million proposal to the city for a new ballpark that could be located on the Boulevard, or at another Richmond-area site. ODP's transformation plan proposes a "brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark and community activity venue" on the footprint of The Diamond.

The Diamond opened in 1985, and its condition influenced the Atlanta Braves to move their Class AAA franchise from Richmond to Gwinnett County, Ga., after last season. The Diamond could be fully transformed for next season if construction started by Aug.1, according to Peter Kirk, ODP's chairman.

Brooks Robinson, the Hall of Famer who starred for the Baltimore Orioles, also is an ODP principal. In the release, he says "We have been closely following the debate over returning minor-league baseball to Richmond and would very much like to see baseball return as quickly and as efficiently as possible."

The Diamond currently seats about 12,000. The playing field would remain. The transformation would include a capacity of 8,500, and removal of The Diamond's upper deck, to be replaced by an open-air "club level" for 750 to 1,000 fans. The front of the stadium would be wrapped by a brick façade and ODP's concept also calls for 20,000 square feet of new retail space to promote year-round activity.

About 5,000 new seats would be installed in a reconfigured lower deck, with a center-field entrance closer to parking, and a walkway encircling the field. A playground with a carousel and bumper boats, and year-round skateboard park also is proposed, as is a year-round conference center overlooking the field, a winter ice-skating park, approximately 16 luxury suites, a picnic area, and a new scoreboard. The Diamond could be used for concerts, and there is a possibility of a life-skills center for at-risk youth.

Richmond has been promised a Class AA franchise by the Eastern League for next season, but the franchise and its ownership have yet to be determined. The city continues to study a proposal for the $318 million Shockoe Center and its $60 million ballpark.

Kirk last night said the transformation plan has not yet been discussed with the city officials or Richmond Metropolitan Authority, which owns and operates The Diamond. Kirk called the Boulevard "a proven location."

Financing details will depend on what franchise plays at The Diamond, according to Kirk. Kirk said last night that The Diamond could be home to a Minor League Baseball franchise (affiliated with a Major League Baseball organization), or one from the independent Atlantic League. He believes Richmond's new team "should pay its fair share of stadium construction costs and operating and maintenance expenses, in a true public-private partnership."

ODP has designed and constructed several ballparks, a few in the Atlantic League.


Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Best damn news I've heard in a long time.


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Nick Sharpe
post Jun 11 2009, 01:03 AM
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Why so serious?
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QUOTE
Best damn news I've heard in a long time.


Seconded.


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creepshow
post Jun 11 2009, 06:25 AM
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I was kind of a supporter of the Shockhoe Bottom deal, but I do like this. I don't know how well this will work as a year round facility (still not feasable to play Richmond hockey here). I'm for this though, anything that revitalizes the stadium and bring baseball back to Richmond I'm for. Parking is probably going to be much easier than if they had put it in Shockhoe at the very least.
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Tyler
post Jun 11 2009, 08:57 AM
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Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
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This actually is probably the best idea. $28 million is a lot to be spending in this economy, but it's better than God knows how many millions they planned on sinking into building a new site. The mockup of the new front entrance actually looks kinda classy.


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WrestlingPower
post Jun 16 2009, 12:05 PM
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I think this is certainly an option, but I have mixed feelings. It seems like the Boulevard location will only serve to remind folks of the failure we as a city had in maintaining the Braves. Not that I would ever want to go to Shockoe but at least that's a fresh start and an attempt by Richmond to do something progressive and new which has been sorely lacking for YEARS now. This should be a backup plan though if only for financial reasons.
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