The city council of Kannapolis (North Carolina) has approved the ballpark design for the projected downtown ballpark of the Kannapolis Intimidators (A Full Season, South Atlantic League). With the approval, an important hurdle is taken on the way to a downtown revitalization.
The Kannapolis Intimidators are looking for a new ballpark since the club has been sold to a new owner. The current ballpark, Intimidators Ballpark, is only 22 years old, but apparently, it doesn’t meet today’s standards. The major problem Intimidators Ballpark is dealing with is that it is built in a watershed so the ballpark cannot be expanded.
The city of Kannapolis is looking to transform its downtown area and the new ballpark will be an important part of it. The new ballpark will have a seating capacity of 5,800 (3,800 fixed seats, 2,000 berm capacity), with a team store, 360-degree concourse, outfield bar, and eight suites. It is not clear yet when the stadium will be opened, but 2020 is definitely possible, but even a 2019 launch could happen. Kansas City-based Populous (former HOK) prepared the schematics which were approved earlier this week.
A decision on the funding of the $37 million ballpark will come later this spring.
The ballpark could generate about $26 million in private development, according to a market research report presented to the City Council in July 2016. In the past, it has been proven that a ballpark could spark a revitalization of a downtown area. In 2004 the Montgomery Biscuits moved to downtown Montgomery into Riverwalk Stadium and the area around the stadium that was rather worn down, started to thrive again thanks to a financial injection by the city of Montgomery as part of the stadium project.
The Intimidators are named after and previously partially owned by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.