Two more cities plan new baseball stadiums

July 11, 2001 |

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 (see photo below), which is scheduled to debut by the 2004 season. The $346 million stadium was designed jointly by Philadelphia-based A/E Ewing Cole Cherry Brott and Kansas City, Mo.-based HOK Sports Facilities Group. Philadelphia-based L.F. Driscoll, 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. Multi-story buildings containing fan facilities, team offices and services 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. The 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.

St. Louis to build a 'village'

A more fan-friendly facility is also planned, on the same site, to replace 35-year-old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals reached agreement with the city to build a new, 49,000-seat ballpark (see photo at right).

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 features a V-shaped grandstand and more field-level seating more than 17,500, compared to 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. An arched brick skin with granite detailing at the back of the upper seating bowl will give distinction to the exterior of the building from a distance, a feature not seen in a ballpark since Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1921 and was renovated in the early 1970s.

Since part of the new ballpark's site will overlap Busch Stadium, 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 49,000 seats will be installed, and new development will proceed in the Ballpark Village area now occupied by Busch Stadium.

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