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Fredericksburg stadium plan calls for pool, kids’ zone, party deck

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

COMPLETE COVERAGE: View all related stories and images on the Fredericksburg baseball proposal

RELATED:Suns future grows dim in Hagerstown

Hagerstown Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn said a proposed Fredericksburg multi-purpose stadium would be a community asset that would offer “something for everyone.”

Quinn, who has owned the Washington Nationals’ Class A affiliate with a group of partners since 2010, hired the HKS Inc. architectural firm to handle preliminary design of a 5,000-seat stadium. Its features would include a swimming pool in left field, corporate suites, a kids’ zone, a “party deck” and a restaurant with sports-related games that would be built into the complex and operate year-round.


COMPLETE COVERAGE: View related stories and images on Fredericksburg’s pursuit of the Suns and a new stadium.


Quinn wants to hold a variety of events at the stadium, which the Suns would lease from the city of Fredericksburg for 30 years under a deal now being considered by city officials. The stadium is expected to cost about $30 million, so city officials are determining whether to proceed with the proposal, and, if so, how to finance it.

The Suns now play in an outdated stadium in Hagerstown, Md. Their lease is up at the end of 2014, and Quinn hopes to move the team to Fredericksburg in time for the start of the 2015 season if the stadium deal is approved.

Quinn said the full design and construction of the stadium would take 18 months, so he hopes the city will approve the deal by the end of October at the latest. The city’s current timeline calls for the matter to be resolved around then following potentially numerous public hearings, the first of which is scheduled for July 9.

Quinn hopes that the city will approve the lease, or at least the broad outlines of one, that the Suns offered by this summer so he can submit his relocation application with Minor League Baseball. He thinks the lease, which calls for the Suns paying the city $105,000 a year in rent and sharing naming rights and other revenues with the city, is a fair offer.

Under the deal proposed, the Suns would put up $3 million for the city to acquire land in Celebrate Virginia South along Interstate 95. The city would then issue up to $30 million in bonds, which, under the current plan, would be financed with tax revenues from the stadium and new real estate taxes on properties in Central Park and Celebrate Virginia.

Many of those affected property owners have objected to shouldering so much of the cost, however, and it’s unclear how the city will proceed.

Should it be built, the stadium would hold concerts, corporate events and potentially, professional soccer and lacrosse games. Quinn said he would like to see it host baseball of all levels, including championship-type games for Little League, American Legion, high school and college in addition to his own team’s minor league contests.

Quinn said youth teams could rent out areas next to the team dugouts during games and get food service, and Boy Scouts might use the outfield for overnight camping stays. Local bands would be invited to play at the stadium before and after games.

Area nonprofits could have fundraisers there, he added, and there could be art-focused wine-and-cheese events.

“There’s so many things we can do,” Quinn said.

Quinn said he would try to use local vendors whenever possible at the stadium and expects to pay about $2.5 million a year for services such as concessions, merchandise, marketing, groundskeeping and more. The stadium would also generate about 2,000 hotel room nights a year, he said.

The Suns, or whatever the team’s name ends up being if it moves here, would employ 30 to 50 people full time and another 150 to 200 part time, he said.

Quinn said he has received about six bids from contractors interested in building the complex that HKS designed. The bids range from about $28 million to $33 million, he said.

Quinn said the city’s construction costs would be capped at $29.5 million. Anything beyond that would be the team’s responsibility.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5424

bfreehling@freelancestar.com

 

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