Another attempt at creating a home for Richmond baseball.
Update #1 — December 22, 2015; 8:54 AM
Currently the City of Richmond Virginia is entering into a process to decide the highest and best use of City owned property on North Boulevard. All indications point to a desire by the City Administration, led by Mayor Dwight C. Jones, to eliminate The Diamond and any other baseball stadium from the proposed redevelopment of this land; effectively ending Richmond’s 100+ year relationship with organized baseball. This petition is designed to show in no uncertain terms that the citizens of the City of Richmond and the Richmond regional community believe that baseball is important to our overall quality of life and that a baseball stadium is a critical component of the highest and best use of this City owned property.
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Original — December 03, 2015
Full Press Release below:
Today a local group of citizens, architects, and developers presented to the public their plan – Live. Work. Play Ball. A New Vision for North Boulevard – to transform the existing Diamond baseball stadium into a 21st century minor-league ballpark. The plan also includes a mixed-use development proposal for the contiguous 50 +/- acres that will provide needed significant tax revenue to the City of Richmond.
Calling itself “The Save The Diamond Committee” this grassroots group of eight individuals has been volunteering their time and experience the past seventeen months to provide an alternative for the City of Richmond and the entire metropolitan region to consider for Richmond baseball and economic development.
“We believe transforming The Diamond with surrounding mixed-use development is the best solution for the City of Richmond, the Flying Squirrels, and the entire region, said Harry H. Warner, Jr. chairman of the Committee. “As a transformation we provide the amenities and needs of a modern ballfield that can keep baseball in the City for another 30 years,” he continued.
“We are presenting this comprehensive plan for our regional leaders and the public to consider because no other individual or group has offered such a plan.” Warner added.
Also speaking was Randy Holmes, President of Glavé & Holmes architects, presenting The Diamond transformation plans and the surrounding area mixed-use development proposal.
Holmes stated “we believe that by uniting a transformed Diamond with a master plan that utilizes sound, timeless good principles of urban design, the City can demonstrate that Richmond continues to be a center of creative, sustainable and beautiful development that should serve future generations in the ways that places like the Fan and Carytown do today. Our hope is that a vision can be cast allowing the City to joint venture with erudite developers to establish a home both for baseball and for a new generation of millennials seeking places of community and connection.”
According to Holme’s plan, millions in tax revenue will be generated to the City through a detailed site development providing:
Office Space 580,000 Sq. Ft.
Retail Space 225,000 Sq. Ft.
Health Club 75,000 Sq. Ft.
Hotel 200 Rooms
Residential Units 1,350 Units
Deck Parking 3,800 Cars
Surface Parking 1,050 Cars
Also volunteering his time and experience, Steve Terrill, a sports design specialist, helped with planning The Diamond transformation. The Diamond plan would include among other improvements and amenities:
- Lowering the playing field to allow for new dugouts and additional lower-level seating along the first and third base lines and into the outfield, and to create a grass-covered seating “berm” beyond the outfield fences for fans to enjoy the game.
- Creating an outdoor pedestrian promenade beyond the outfield seating berm that would open up to adjacent development and provide 360 degree accessibility within the stadium.
- Creating two new entrances into the ballpark along the right and left field lines with high activity pre- and post-game entertainment plazas inside the ballpark for both adults and kids.
- Locating within the main entrance on the right field line a structure to accommodate the arriving fans and house team offices and retail shops plus a Richmond Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Relocating all the current “suites” from their present location in order to open up the existing stadium concourse to expansive direct views of the playing field and to create added concession opportunities.
- Removing a section of the roof and upper deck structure along the right field line to create 20 new “luxury suites” and added premium club seating with an adjacent outdoor patio area.
- Adding multiple elevators for improved accessibility; increased and improved food concessions; enlarged and improved clubhouse spaces and training areas; a children’s play area; and themed bars, such as a wine bar.
Carlton Moffatt, former Richmond Chamber President when the current The Diamond was built in 1984 and a force with other community leaders in its creation, said “baseball at The Diamond is a proven location having been there for over 30 years and longer on the Boulevard with Parker Field. It is easily accessible for all in the region. With almost 70% of the fan base coming from the surrounding counties, that is vitally important.”
Warner indicated this proposal is a fiduciary responsible plan to reuse and update a structurally sound and iconic Diamond while providing sorely needed revenue to the City.
“As a Richmond native and a current resident and taxpayer I believe this plan provides the best alternative for all involved. It provides a superior minor-league baseball facility for the Flying Squirrels at millions less what a new stadium would cost. And when the real estate development is complete, it will provide millions of dollars the City can use for its schools, roads, and police and fire protection.” Warner said.
About the Save the Diamond Committee
The Save The Diamond Committee was created to provide a viable and responsible alternative to keep baseball on the Boulevard in the renovated Diamond. Committee members are Carlton Moffatt, Harry Warner, Tom Hanson, Randy Holmes, John Dempsey, Steve Terrill, Rick Tatnall and Jim Lee.
Images from last night’s presentation below and more can be found here.