Funds likely for Phillies training facility


Philadelphia Phillies training facility might receive funding Image: Philadelphia Phillies

The City of Clearwater in Florida (US) is launching a new Property Redevelopment Assistance Program, and under discussion is whether a half-billion-dollar makeover of the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Philadelphia Phillies Spring training facilities qualifies for the program.

‘Ballpark Digest’ stated that the team is planning a $320-million BayCare Ballpark renovation and the construction of a new $250-million Ballpark Village South of the ballpark as part of the makeover of the Philadelphia Phillies Spring training facilities.

The Philadelphia Phillies are an American professional baseball team based in Philadelphia, US. The Phillies compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the National League East division. Since 2004, the team’s home stadium has been the Citizens Bank Park, located in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

The 42,901-capacity Citizens Bank Park is a baseball stadium located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US) in the City’s South Philadelphia Sports Complex. It is the ballpark of Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Philadelphia Phillies.

The Philadelphia Phillies have trained in Clearwater, Florida since 1947. The BayCare Ballpark is the home of the Phillies’ Spring training. The Phillies have been training at the BayCare Ballpark since it opened in 2004.

The BayCare Ballpark is a baseball stadium in Clearwater, Florida, and the Spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. It was built in 2004 and has a capacity to hold 8,500 people. The stadium has 7,000 fixed seats and 1,500 grass berm seats. The concourse wraps around the stadium and is open to the playing field.

‘Ballpark Digest’ further stated that the BayCare Ballpark renovation would include the addition of 2,000 seats and perhaps an outfield pool, while a 13-acre mall location immediately South of the ballpark would be converted to a new entryway for the ballpark, complete with residential and retail. Right now access to the ballpark is a little troublesome, while the Western entry features a lovely statue, it’s a little cramped and poses accessibility issues.

The ballpark is also home to the Single-A Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League. The plan would also provide upgrades to the Carpenter Complex, including the addition of a performance center.

The Clearwater Threshers are a Single-A Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team. They play in the Florida State League (FSL) and are affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. The team’s home games are played at the BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Florida.

The Single-A, also known as Class A, is the fourth-highest level of play in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States.

St. Petersburg (US)-based the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is professional baseball below Major League Baseball (MLB), including teams affiliated with the MLB clubs and independent baseball leagues consisting of unaffiliated teams.

New York (US)-based Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization. One of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, MLB comprises 30 teams, divided equally between the National League (NL) and the American League (AL) with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The proposal comes at a time when the City is launching a new Property Redevelopment Assistance Program aimed at specific geographic areas within the City, according to a promoted article from the City: “Targeted areas within the City limits include a seven-mile stretch of U.S. 19 from Belleair Road to Curlew Road, the Hercules Road industrial district, downtown Clearwater, and other parcels of sizable acreage and assemblage potential. The Clearwater economic development staffs are engaging the property owners to find out what they can do on their behalf, in collaboration with the other City departments, to facilitate development opportunities in the City. This phase of engaging with the property owners is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.”

The fact that the Phillies are thinking big with their notion of a Spring-training development and not just looking to adapt the old mall location seems to be resonating with the City officials:

Said Dylan Mayeux, Senior Real Estate Coordinator with the City of the Phillies’ proposed Baseball Village, “Our understanding is concepts under consideration include a mixed-use redevelopment that complements the proposed stadium renovations. It’s central to Clearwater and the Pinellas County and could serve as a model for other developers in the future.”

Mayeux believes a revamped baseball complex in the form of a mixed-use development may inspire other large-scale projects in the area. An area such as the U.S. 19 corridor is certainly ripe for redevelopment given the large number of properties along that busy stretch of highway that currently have low-density retail uses on them.

Added Mayeux, “It’s an opportunity for the property owners to reimagine their properties and create mixed-use, live-work-play communities.”

Right now, the program isn’t providing direct aid to the developers. In the past use of the Pinellas County hotel tax has been discussed as a potential part of any redevelopment funding for the Philadelphia Phillies Spring training. The bed tax being used for Spring training is not unusual: $41.7 million of bed tax money was used to fund renovations to the 8,500-capacity TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, and an overhaul of the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Toronto Blue Jays’ training complex. The budget for that project: $108 million. The bed tax has also been mentioned as a possible funding source if the MLB team Tampa Bay Rays end up with a new St. Petersburg ballpark.

A bed tax refers to a fee collected by a City, county or other municipality for each night someone rents a room in a hotel, motel or other temporary lodging place.

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