The city of Kannapolis on Monday unanimously approved the design for a new stadium to replace their current park as a part of larger downtown revitalization project.
The ballpark, which was designed by Populous, is expected to cost $37 million and would be ready by the start of the 2020 season. The city expects the complete revitalization project will bring approximately $370 million of investment into the area.
In the mold of Populous-designed parks in Columbia, S.C., and Fort Wayne, Ind., the new Kannapolis stadium would be a public park and would include a 360-degree concourse for residents to use for walking or jogging when the Intimidators aren’t around.
Jason Freier of Hardball Capital, an investment firm that helped spearhead the new parks in Columbia and Fort Wayne, explained the concourse concept last year.
"If we had closed all the gates and made everybody go around, it would be sort of this black hole in the middle of the development," he said then. "Instead, we feel we're sort of the glue that holds it all together and sort of a central gathering place.”
Once completed, the ballpark is expected to seat 5,800 fans, have eight suites and hold 8,500 square feet of space for meetings or other non-baseball functions.
In anticipation of a downtown project, Kannapolis spent just more than $7.5 million to buy land and buildings in the area, as well as an additional $1.2 million to buy a local furniture store and a house to clear space for the new buildings.
If it is completed in time, it would be the second new ballpark to open in North Carolina in a two-year span. The Carolina League’s new franchise in Fayetteville plans to move into a permanent home after spending its first two seasons at Campbell University in Buies Creek.