The spate of announcements of new major league baseball parks continues, with recent developments in Philadelphia and St. Louis.
The Philadelphia Phillies unveiled the design for its new, 43,000-seat, natural-grass ballpark, which is scheduled to debut by the 2004 season. The $346 stadium was designed jointly by Philadelphia-based A/E Ewing Cole Cherry Brott Inc. and Kansas City, Mo.-based HOK Sports Facilities Group. Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based L.F. Driscoll Co., in a joint venture with Indianapolis-based Hunt Construction Group, will be construction manager. Groundbreaking is set for November.
To be constructed just east of Veterans Stadium, current home of the Phillies, the cantilevered steel structure will be clad in brick and stone. Multistory buildings containing fan facilities and team offices will surround the grandstand bowl.
With the Philadelphia city skyline as the backdrop, the ballpark will feature "bowl-style" seating and a playing field 23 feet below street level. Street-level entrances will lead directly to the airy main concourse and an open view to the playing field. Parallel to home plate, third base and first base, glass-enclosed, 50-ft.-high lanterns will glow at night.
The stadium is configured to place fans close to the field. Less than one-third of the seats will be in the upper deck, and all the suites will be located between the foul poles, just 13 feet above street level.
A more fan-friendly facility is also planned, on the same site, to replace 35-year-old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals reached agreement with the city to build a new, 49,000-seat ballpark.
To be completed for the 2005 season, the $346 million ballpark will be set in a new downtown mixed-use development, called BallPark Village, that will include office space, street-level shops and restaurants, residential units, parking, a museum honoring the Cardinals and an aquarium.
The design by HOK's Sports Facilities Group features a V-shaped grandstand and more field-level seating — more than 17,500, compared with 10,516 at Busch — that is said to bring the fans closer to the field. The structure's exterior will consist of brick, granite and glass, including a series of stone carvings that convey symbols of the city and the team. A massive granite base establishes a level platform for the brick walls, which are topped by a granite cornice at the upper concourse level.
Since part of the new field's site will overlap Busch, construction will take place in phases. In the first season, a minimum of 39,000 seats will be available for use. By the second season, all seats will be installed, and new development will proceed in the Ballpark Village.