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City releases consultant’s report on ballpark plan

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington has released a report from a consultant on a proposal for a minor league baseball stadium in Wilmington. The city hired National Sports Services to analyze a proposal from developers, including Mandalay Baseball Properties, to build a ballpark in the city to serve as the home of an Atlanta Braves farm team.

National will make a presentation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Click here to read the full report on the city’s website.

NATIONAL SPORTS SERVICES REPORT – HIGHLIGHTS (source: City of Wilmington)

Cost
$36-42 million for construction, land, infrastructure
Costs for construction and land are comparable to preliminary estimates from Mandalay, but there may be some opportunities for savings either from a change in scope to the proposal, or from a more specific, detailed proposal when that becomes available.

Preferred location
Greater downtown area most preferred, followed by Eastwood Road corridor
Key factors include proximity to dining, hotels and other entertainment, as well as the potential to enhance existing and additional economic development, parking opportunities and existing infrastructure.

Economic Impact
Over 20 years, $172 million in direct spending; $13.5 million in new revenues for the city and county
Through multiplier effects, the team and ballpark would generate an estimated $248 million in total new output, including direct, indirect and induced spending. Sources for new revenues include lease payments, sales and property taxes, hotel taxes and admission taxes.

Intangible benefits
National/regional media exposure, affordable entertainment, enhanced community pride

Jobs
3,952 new one-year full and part-time jobs
These jobs would generate an estimated $76 million in new personal earnings.

Market/size
Strong regional draw with military bases and nearby beaches as enhancements
-60% of market within 15 miles, equaling 255,000 residents; another 30% draw within 30 miles, equaling 358,000 residents
-Recommend 6,000‐seat stadium; average seating at ballparks in comparable markets is just over 6,100 seats, with a range of 4,500‐8,100
-Our demographics in same range as comparable ballparks

Public Support/funding
On average, public funding accounts for 59% of minor league baseball developments built since 1995
If Wilmington follows this model, the public investment would be $26.3 million, assuming the project would cost a total of $42 million. Mandalay would contribute $15.7 million through annual payments of $400,000 a year and other partners would need to be identified to contribute another $5.2 million.

Citizen funding support
53% of survey respondents indicated they would be willing to pay up to $2 a month for the ballpark

Mandalay return on investment
An estimated 21% profit margin in the first year, stabilizing at 13% by fifth year of operation and then an average 8.6% return over the life of a 20‐year lease

Potential partners
Nearby real estate development, free or discounted land contribution, UNCW or others as tenants, other governmental partners, corporate fundraising, private donors, foundation grants

Other activities for ballpark
Comparable ballparks host youth, high school and college baseball, concerts, graduations, religious events, food festivals, private functions, movie nights, professional soccer games

Number of events
Comparable ballparks hosted an average of 153 events each year

Attendance
Attendance at comparable parks is 3,796 per game, with a range from 2,449‐5,612

Comparable parks
Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Wayne Tin Caps, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Winston‐Salem Dash

Costs/benefits
Tied to level of funding commitment; size of project can be scaled down, but benefits and return on investment diminish accordingly

June 19 City Council meeting
-Presentation from NSS, receive/take action on NSS report
-Decide on MOU extension
-Consider budget for additional professional support

More: continued here

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