If the Winston-Salem city council approves Billy Prim’s request for $15.7 million to complete construction on a 5,500-seat downtown ballpark, the overall price tag for project will rise to $40.1 million.
That would make it the most expensive Class A facility ever built. The current Class A leader is Great Lakes’ Dow Diamond, which opened in 2007 for $34 million.
The new price tag is significantly more than the typical for a Class A facility, which in our 2008 minor league preview we reported as running around $15-20 million.
The most recent high Class A facilities to be built were Charlotte’s Sports Park in 2009, a renovation/teardown of an existing facility that cost $27 million; and Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark in 2005 that cost $22 million.
In 2008, Triple-A Lehigh Valley debuted 10,000-seat Coca-Cola Park for $49.4 million and Double-A Northwest Arkansas opened 7,500-seat Arvest Ballpark for $33 million.
Six teams opened new ballparks this season, with only three topping the $40 million mark (all Triple-A facilities):
Triple-A Columbus ($56 million), Triple-A Gwinnett (estimated $40 million, likely total $60 million), Triple-A Reno ($50 million), high Class A Charlotte ($27 million), low Class A Bowling Green ($28 million), low Class A Fort Wayne ($30.6 million).
It’s important to remember that Triple-A ballparks usually seat around 10,000 fans; Double-A facilities 6-7,000; Class A between 4-5,500.