The wrong baseball debate

renderingbaseballbottomThe debate about bringing baseball back to Richmond somehow got sidetracked into a tangential spin cycle.

Tonight the Times-Dispatch will host a Public Square pitting two proponents of a Shockoe Bottom stadium versus two opponents who say baseball should remain on the Boulevard.

Yankees versus Red Sox this is not.

On one hand there is a group of potential team owners who are willing to buy a team and move it to a new $60 million stadium downtown under the guidance of Bryan Bostic, a businessman who is taking on much of the financial risk. The deal to acquire a Connecticut team may be slower than planned, but, according to sources we’ve talked to, it is moving forward.

Part of the business plan put forth by Bostic and his partners at Highwoods Properties requires a stadium with updated amenities and loads of commercial space (although that seems dubious with vacancy rates skyrocketing across Richmond). They are not proposing a stadium on the Boulevard. They have not said they would buy a team if they had to run the business at the Diamond long-term.

As far as I know, there is no doppelganger for Bryan Bostic, who has assembled some investors and found a team to move from another location to Richmond. If there is, that person should step forward and be at the Times-Dispatch’s forum tonight.

Until then, the real debate should address one central issue: If professional baseball is not a viable business without some government assistance (land, help with bonds … whatever), what price would be reasonable for taxpayers to support such a quality of life improvement? Minor league baseball is a tough business that usually requires some municipal backing. It did at the Diamond, which was owned by the Richmond Metropolitan Authority and operated on behalf of the city and counties. Folks didn’t demand that the stadium be closed because it used public funds.

Taxpayers support all kinds of quality-of-life improvements that couldn’t exist as free-standing business — including the Richmond Coliseum, parks and museums. The federal government is finding ways of buying stuff to put people to work. Much of it isn’t imperative, but it will help out. Might a downtown baseball stadium be the sort of construction project that puts builders and construction workers back to work? Would it have other desirable effects, like luring new businesses to Richmond because of a higher quality of life?  Or would it be another debacle, like the Sixth Street Marketplace, that opens with fanfare but ultimately fails and leaves a costly eyesore?

Why not settle it with a special referendum vote put to city residents?

Wouldn’t that be democratic?

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send story ideas to [email protected].

renderingbaseballbottomThe debate about bringing baseball back to Richmond somehow got sidetracked into a tangential spin cycle.

Tonight the Times-Dispatch will host a Public Square pitting two proponents of a Shockoe Bottom stadium versus two opponents who say baseball should remain on the Boulevard.

Yankees versus Red Sox this is not.

On one hand there is a group of potential team owners who are willing to buy a team and move it to a new $60 million stadium downtown under the guidance of Bryan Bostic, a businessman who is taking on much of the financial risk. The deal to acquire a Connecticut team may be slower than planned, but, according to sources we’ve talked to, it is moving forward.

Part of the business plan put forth by Bostic and his partners at Highwoods Properties requires a stadium with updated amenities and loads of commercial space (although that seems dubious with vacancy rates skyrocketing across Richmond). They are not proposing a stadium on the Boulevard. They have not said they would buy a team if they had to run the business at the Diamond long-term.

As far as I know, there is no doppelganger for Bryan Bostic, who has assembled some investors and found a team to move from another location to Richmond. If there is, that person should step forward and be at the Times-Dispatch’s forum tonight.

Until then, the real debate should address one central issue: If professional baseball is not a viable business without some government assistance (land, help with bonds … whatever), what price would be reasonable for taxpayers to support such a quality of life improvement? Minor league baseball is a tough business that usually requires some municipal backing. It did at the Diamond, which was owned by the Richmond Metropolitan Authority and operated on behalf of the city and counties. Folks didn’t demand that the stadium be closed because it used public funds.

Taxpayers support all kinds of quality-of-life improvements that couldn’t exist as free-standing business — including the Richmond Coliseum, parks and museums. The federal government is finding ways of buying stuff to put people to work. Much of it isn’t imperative, but it will help out. Might a downtown baseball stadium be the sort of construction project that puts builders and construction workers back to work? Would it have other desirable effects, like luring new businesses to Richmond because of a higher quality of life?  Or would it be another debacle, like the Sixth Street Marketplace, that opens with fanfare but ultimately fails and leaves a costly eyesore?

Why not settle it with a special referendum vote put to city residents?

Wouldn’t that be democratic?

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send story ideas to [email protected].

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

 — 

 — 

 — 

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected].

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.

FOR ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR MEMBERSHIP PLEASE EMAIL [email protected]




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

1 Comment
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ShockoeBottomDweller
ShockoeBottomDweller
15 years ago

Waste of time not worth the bother if City Council gets the answer they want from their “independent study”(the one that is already said Shockoe Bottom was the place before) they will make this whole baseball deal a pet project and try to have the tax payer make it happen. Highwood properties never in the history of their company has done this before they have never sponsored any type of Sports Franchise and yet they want to make Richmond the Guinea Pig. The list of people invovled are nice but how do you know if you don’t end up with… Read more »