Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team the Hillsboro Hops has unveiled plans for a $120m (£100.2m/€113.3m) ballpark after switching strategy from an original vision to redevelop its current home of Ron Tonkin Field.
The Hops, High-A baseball affiliate of MLB franchise the Arizona Diamondbacks, relocated to Hillsboro, Oregon in 2012 and began play in 2013 at Ron Tonkin Field. The stadium opened in the same year and the original intent of the project was to renovate to meet new facility standards imposed by MLB following the team’s promotion to High-A level.
After the completion of preliminary design and analysis, it was determined that it will be more cost effective to design and build a new ballpark, which will be located on the northwest side of the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex. The ballpark will be designed as a year-round outdoor entertainment venue that could host more than 300 events per year, including Hops home baseball games, concerts, festivals, community events and amateur baseball games.
The design-build team of Mortenson, SRG and Populous will begin the construction process in late summer, with project completion prior to the 2025 Hops baseball season. The project is anticipated to cost up to $120 million and will be designed to accommodate 6,000 people for baseball and up to 7,000 for concerts and other events.
Under the financial proposal, the Hops will be responsible for approximately $75m of the total project costs and will request $25m from the State of Oregon to support the project. The City of Hillsboro will contribute $18m in revenues from the Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) — collected through overnight hotel stays in Hillsboro. TLT revenues are required to be reinvested in tourism-related projects, which the ballpark qualifies for.
The Hops will have full operational control over the new ballpark under a licensing agreement with the City and will be responsible for all ballpark expenses, including utilities and maintenance. The City of Hillsboro will retain exclusive ownership and operation of Ron Tonkin Field.
The City is partnering with the Hops to support the team in its efforts to meet the new baseball requirements. The two parties said the ballpark design will address player health and wellness, improve security, elevate the fan experience and enhance home and visiting facilities.
Hillsboro City Manager, Robby Hammond, said: “The City appreciates the Hops as a partner and recognises the unique value the organisation brings to the community. Creating a more robust regional entertainment destination will provide long term benefits to the City as well as the Hops.”
Hops president and general manager, K.L. Wombacher, added: “The requirement to meet new MLB facility standards has turned into an opportunity for us to reimagine what kind of venue our region needs and deserves.
“This new ballpark is going to be a generational project that serves as a community gathering place for decades to come. This is a gamechanger for our region and perfectly aligns with the City’s vision, as well as ours, to provide the best community to live, work, and play.”