Plans For Downtown Baseball Stadium On Hold – For Now

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Mayor Ivy Taylor gives introductory remarks speaking to the impact baseball could have in San Antonio. Photo by Scott Ball.

Mayor Ivy Taylor said she includes a baseball stadium in her vision of downtown. Photo by Scott Ball.

Mayor Ivy Taylor stated in a news release that City consultants and staff will “continue looking at various scenarios” for a downtown baseball stadium in San Antonio, “but there is no timeline for action.”

The statement came Wednesday evening after City Council was briefed on a final draft of a market feasibility study that looked at six possible locations for a stadium.

Taylor cited a lack of immediate financial support from private partners for putting the idea on hold. She noted during an interview with the Rivard Report on Thursday that she wouldn’t use the word “shelved” to describe it.

“The private sector dollars would be critical for us to move forward,” Taylor said. “But the study is very helpful for setting a baseline and context for what it would cost and the market for (a Triple-A baseball) stadium here.”

Without a specific site in mind or a private partner willing to participate in a public-private partnership, there’s little staff can do.

“(The stadium) is not in the budget we approved today. It’s not in the recommendations for the 2017 bond, nor am I advocating for it to be,” Taylor said. “It will not be in the bond.”

The fiscal year 2017 City Budget, unanimously approved by City Council on Thursday, does not include any funding related to a baseball stadium, but Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8) questioned if taxpayer dollars might be spent on it anyway as City staff is taking the time – and therefore money – to look at those “various scenarios.”

“The mayor has acknowledged that she wants staff to continue to work on this. How much tax money do we need to waste for the mayor to figure out what taxpayers already know? (They know) this is a bad idea,” Nirenberg told the Rivard Report Thursday morning. “This has been a giant distraction and a waste of time and money for the City.”

After Taylor announced in April that she and the owner of the San Antonio Missions, the local Double-A team, worked out a deal to bring the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox to San Antonio by 2019, there was significant protest for using public money to build the stadium, especially since the owner, Dave Elmore, said he won’t be an equity partner in the ball park. Others in the community agree that baseball stadiums can be a catalyst for economic growth.

Taylor said she might be meeting with Elmore next week.

“The reasons why I’ve been interested in exploring these options – no offense to sports fans – are really more about downtown development and workforce recruitment and retention,” Taylor said, adding that a ball park could be a big add to the growing list of downtown amenities in San Antonio.

California-based Barrett Sports Group, LLC performed a feasibility study on a Triple-A baseball park that looked at six different locations, most of which already have significant projects planned for them including Hemisfair’s Civic Park and the new federal courthouse. Another separate study paid for by Centro San Antonio has yet to be publicly released. It has allegedly been in draft form for several months.

Both studies will be released “in the next few days,” according to the mayor’s news release.

Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), whose district includes downtown, is confident that there will be a new baseball stadium in downtown San Antonio – one day.

“There are opportunities to make it happen,” he said. “When that will happen? That’s a big question mark.”

Unlike other sporting facilities, Treviño added, ball parks create a “very different atmosphere – that’s why we call them ball parks.”


Top image: During an Urban Land Institute luncheon in June, Mayor Ivy Taylor said she includes a baseball stadium in her vision of downtown.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Case Study in Baseball: Why El Paso Demolished its City Hall

Rivard: Mayor Taylor’s $75 Million Swing and a Miss 

Mayor Calls for Downtown stadium, Triple-A Baseball Team by 2019

Mayor in Talks to Bring Baseball into Downtown San Antonio

Major League Baseball Lands in the Alamodome

7 thoughts on “Plans For Downtown Baseball Stadium On Hold – For Now

  1. Why is this even still a discussion? Bring HIGH SKILL HIGH WAGE jobs to San Antonio!!!! Austin, Houston and Dallas all have them. San Antonio…not so much.

  2. I believe that an investment in luring Companies Headquartered in Mexico, Canada, and here in the United States would be much better for our economy, stature as a city, organization, and consistency then a ball park that may be used less then 50 days a years and is franchise entertainment. We are not much of a franchise city and I think we are so much better for it! Unlike other cities and other than the Spurs, we do not have to settle for rallying around pro sports teams! Maybe that’s why some of the “coolest cities” have minimal to no franchise teams.

    • Guillermo and Art echo my sentiments exactly. Mayor Taylor should know better than to focus on this boondoggle. We need JOBS, and not call center jobs–REAL jobs. Proud of Nirenberg for standing up to the mayor and against so many deep pockets and stating what we all know to be true–this is a waste of time, money and focus.

      • Excellent responses from Art, A, and Guillermo. And if the SA Missions owner insists on trading out our long-standing double-A ball team with an unknown triple-A ball club, why not consider the Alamodome? It’s close enough to downtown, and gameday traffic (foot, bike, bus, vehicle) can meander through and buy stuff from the up-and-coming Hemisfair Plaza, before the first pitch. Then we can spend “shiny new stadium money” on
        1. Refurbishments to this already-up-and-waiting structure
        2. Improved parking around our Alamodome
        3. Maybe a tastefully decorated (via SanAnto Cultural Arts, BlueStar Arts, other collaborating artists) foot-and-bike traffic bridge from Hemisfair to the Alamodome, underneath I-37.

        That is, if we the citizens really want it, whether through a bond or another taxation plan. Stay Missions Stay! (Go Spurs Go!) [namaste]

  3. Downtown baseball stadiums are fine and good, but there is absolutely no reason for the City to pay for Mr. Elmore’s business facility. COSA wouldn’t pay for the building to house a new AT&T call center or a new hospital, so why should we be saddled with the cost of a baseball stadium. (Yes, there are tax write offs and such, but those are to encourage investment and growth, not subsidize a private company’s infrastructure.)

  4. I am all for the city building a professional sports stadium downtown (or replacing the Alamodome with an NFL-caliber stadium) one day. They missed a once in a generation chance to move the Spurs arena downtown when the AT&T Center was constructed.

    But the prospect of bending over backwards to get a minor league baseball stadium built downtown seems very…minor league for a metropolitan area of 2 million residents.

    • How much would it cost to make the renovations to the Alamodome, and make it NFL-worthy (more general seating, many skyboxes, and so on), versus building a brand-spanking new NFL-worthy stadium ($1 billion and counting)?

      Considering the growth northwards towards Austin along I-35, I would bet that a major league stadium is planted and grown somewhere there, to take advantage of highways and probably more easily developed land.

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