By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal
After years of chatter among local business and political leaders about the merits of a new baseball stadium in the center city, Centro San Antonio has stepped up to the plate to help move such a project closer to reality. Centro has reached out to national stadium consultant Brailsford & Dunlavey to provide expertise on where such a ballpark should be developed, how it could be funded and what San Antonio can expect with regard to economic impact opportunities.
“We are ready to embark on a study for a downtown ballpark. We are in the process of finalizing the contract with the consultant,” Centro San Antonio President and CEO Pat DiGiovanni said.
Centro will fund the new study, which stadium supporters hope will trigger more serious discussions about the need for a venue that could accommodate a Triple-A team. Currently, San Antonio is home to the Missions, the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.
“We are starting to have a real conversation about a downtown stadium,” DiGiovanni said. “This study is an important element in how we proceed.” Securing funding for a downtown ballpark will be one of the bigger challenges local leaders will face.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, for whom the Mission’s stadium is named, has been most vocal about the need for a new downtown ballpark. However, the county may be somewhat hamstrung in its ability to help fund such a project because of a contract it signed more than 15 years ago with the San Antonio Spurs. That arena operating agreement for what is now theAT&T Center includes a “No Competing Facilities” clause, which states in part that, during the term of the agreement, the county shall not directly or indirectly “own, manage, operate, control, finance, sponsor (or) develop” any indoor or outdoor sports venue with a capacity of 5,000 to 30,000 seats.
That may be one reason why San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor has become more involved in discussions about a new ballpark.
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