Design & Development

Guardians lift lid on ‘Progressive Field Reimagined’

Images: MANICA Architecture/Cleveland Guardians

Images: MANICA Architecture/Cleveland Guardians

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Cleveland Guardians has revealed plans for ‘Progressive Field Reimagined’, a redevelopment of its ballpark which will place a heavy emphasis on “social experiences”.

The renovation projects are scheduled to be completed over the next three years as a result of the Guardians’ new lease extension at Progressive Field approved in January 2022. In March, Manica was appointed as the lead design architect on the finalised projects, its first MLB stadium contract, while Ohio-based Moody Nolan is serving as the architect of record.

Progressive Field Reimagined will seek to improve and extend the life of Progressive Field, which, having opened in 1994, is the 11th-oldest ballpark in MLB. It will include renovations to the Upper Deck, Terrace Club, Dugout Club, home and visiting clubhouses and service level, along with the Guardians administrative offices.

“Progressive Field has been a fantastic home to Cleveland Baseball since it opened in 1994,” Cleveland Guardians owner, chairman and CEO, Paul Dolan, said yesterday (Thursday).

“We are excited to continue to call Progressive Field home for decades to come, and we look forward to providing new experiences and updated enhancements to our fans, players and staff through renovation projects that will continue to keep our ballpark competitive as one of the best venues in Major League Baseball.”

The scheduled renovation projects will focus on the following areas:

Revamped Upper Deck

The revamped Upper Deck will feature multiple social spaces for fans to enjoy the game. The new-look Upper Deck will feature a Beer Garden down the left field line, a new group outing space in right field, and new concession spaces, including two new View Box bars that will flank home plate and allow for more open sightlines from the Upper Deck concourse.

Terrace Hub

The current Terrace Club will be reimagined as an open-air hub with terraced-ticketed seating on the 200 and 300-levels, and a new expansive authentic-to-Cleveland Beer Hall food and beverage experience on the 400-level that will be open to all ticketed patrons at Progressive Field. The ticketed seating sections will have their own private club space on the 300-level.

Dugout Club

The new Dugout Club will seek to combine the best of both worlds when it comes to premium seating, allowing for the same field-level seats that currently exist while creating a new exclusive lounge behind home plate. The Club will also feature seven private lounges to allow for groups to enjoy an exclusive experience.

Clubhouses & Service Level

Both clubhouses, as well as the ballpark service level, will be updated for the first time since the ballpark opened. The new home clubhouse will be completely reimagined with a focus on player amenities in performance, training and recovery.

E. 9th Street Building

To allow for the clubhouse expansion, a new four-level E. 9th street building will be erected in right field to allow for a new kitchen and commissary for the Guardians concessionaire, as well as additional storage facilities for the ballpark. The rooftop of the new E. 9th street building will connect to the Upper Concourse and serve as a new group space at Progressive Field.

Cleveland Guardians Front Office

The Guardians Front Office will also be fully renovated for the first time since 1994. As part of the renovation, the Guardians will add a fifth floor to the current four-level structure.

However, one element that won’t be part of the new-look Progressive Field will be a stadium sportsbook. Legal sports betting launched in the state of Ohio on January 1, with NBA franchise the Cleveland Cavaliers wasting little time in opening a sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Guardians sparked talk that a similar offering was forthcoming at Progressive Field by announcing a partnership with bet365 on Wednesday, however Neil Weiss, chief information officer and executive vice-president of ballpark operations, explained why the team won’t be following the Cavaliers.

He said: “We’re looking at potentially partnering with somebody, but it has to be outside of our gate lines, because Major League Baseball doesn’t allow for a physical sports book to be in the ballpark. So anything we do will be on the edge of our ballpark and something small.”

The funding for the projects will be supported by the new lease agreement which extends the current lease to 2036, with potential options to extent to 2046, and was agreed upon between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, State of Ohio, the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland and the Guardians.

The estimated cost of the projects will be $202.5m (£165.6m/€186.8m), with $67.5m coming from the Guardians. The Guardians are also responsible for providing additional funds to cover any cost overages that may result from the projects.

Mortenson is the national construction manager while Northeast Ohio’s Independence Construction will work with Mortenson in providing construction management services. The Guardians expect all renovations to be completed by the 2025 season.

The schematic design process is close to completion, and the majority of the 2023 season will focus on design development with the hope of starting construction at the end of the campaign.

“The new fan-facing renovation projects have a heavy emphasis on social experiences at the ballpark,” said president of business operations for the Guardians, Brian Barren.

“As we surveyed our fans, we continuously heard feedback that aligned with the success we saw with the Corner Bar – a focus on more social spaces and compelling fan experiences in the ballpark offering unique ways to enjoy a game.

“We believe our renovation projects which include a revamped Upper Deck, a reimagined Terrace Club space, and a new Dugout Club will deliver new unique experiences for fans at Progressive Field.”