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View Full Version : Greensboro ballpark enters new phase

Dec 14, 2003, 1:55 PM
Stadium deal enters new phase


By BILL HASS, Staff Writer
News & Record

GREENSBORO -- The way baseball deals are sometimes made, one player is traded for another and cash.

The deal that formally clears the way for a downtown baseball stadium is down to the "and cash" part, which should be completed today.

Papers were signed and deeds executed Friday that turned over Guilford County property bordered by Eugene, Bellemeade and Edgeworth streets to Downtown Greensboro Renaissance, a subsidiary of the Joseph Bryan Foundation. That property is the site for the new stadium, which will be home to the Greensboro Bats of the South Atlantic League.

In exchange, the county received the deed to a new office building at 1203 Maple Street.

The county will complete the transaction today by wiring $4.75 million to Downtown Greensboro Renaissance. That accounts for the $4.5 million the county agreed to pay for the office, plus a return of an earnest money deposit of $250,000.

"The deal is done," said Jim Melvin of the Bryan Foundation. "The punch list for the new building is complete and the county signed off on it. The building is theirs."

Technically, the county becomes a tenant on its former property, but Melvin said it has the right to use the land at no cost until Feb. 1, the date the old offices must be vacated.

Employees should start moving into the Maple Street building Jan. 5, and Melvin hopes the process will be completed before the deadline.

The first building vacated will be an annex that used to be an old grocery store. Demolition of that building will take place while employees are still moving from the main building, which used to be the headquarters for Burlington Industries.

Samet Corp. is the general contractor for the stadium. Project manager Mike Sears said Jan. 9 is the target to begin preparation for demolition of the annex.

Preparations for demolition of the main building should begin Jan. 20.

D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. will handle the demolition. Sears said the annex should be leveled in a day or two. The main building will take longer and will involve some asbestos removal.

When the buildings are down, work will begin on preparing the site for the construction of the stadium, which will have a capacity of 6,000, including 5,200 permanent seats. Target date for completion is April 2005.

"It will be a fun thing," Melvin said. "It's been a long time since we've seen that much construction in the center city.

"We're off and running, and I don't think we'll ever look back."

Bats general manager Donald Moore said interest in the new stadium is gaining momentum.

As of Friday, the team had sold 452 season tickets for 2004, the final year of professional baseball in 77-year-old Memorial Stadium.

Moore said that was more than double the number of tickets sold at this time last year. While some orders are renewals, many are new orders. Those who have purchased 2004 season tickets by March 1 will have first pick of the seats in the new stadium for 2005.

Melvin said the complicated land transaction was "remarkably hassle-free." He said the project on Maple Street had a cost overrun of $36,000, which he called "insignificant for a $10 million project."

Downtown Greensboro Renaissance paid the balance of the project and the overrun.