No new Toronto ballpark as Blue Jays opt for $250 million Rogers Centre upgrade
It looks like plans to demolish the Rogers Centre and replace it with a new ballpark for the Toronto Blue Jays have been shelved, as Rogers has reportedly opted for a quarter-billion-dollar renovation that would modernize the 32-year-old stadium — now the seventh-oldest in Major League Baseball.
Venues Now reports that, according to industry sources, PCI Construction Group and architects Populous — the leading firm for sports venues — won a bid to overhaul the retractable-roof stadium, Rogers Communications planning to invest between $200 million and $250 million on the iconic facility.
While some fans may be disappointed to learn that the Jays won't be moving into a 21st-century stadium-based megadevelopment, it looks like Rogers at least picked the right firm for the job.
Populous has designed venues for some of the biggest sports teams on the planet (the Monstars have yet to hire them) with 1,325 stadiums in 34 countries. They're responsible for 20 MLB ballparks out of the 30 teams, including the New Yankee Stadium, so it's safe to say they know what they're doing.
Upgrades would reportedly make the stadium more baseball-specific, its original multipurpose scope no longer required since the Toronto Argonauts left for BMO field in 2015.
No estimates have been given as to when construction would start, but it is assumed that the stadium upgrades would be a much quicker turnaround than the five-to-eight-year timeline that was given for the demolition and redevelopment option announced in November 2020.
It's a much cheaper option than rebuilding, with modern stadiums typically running a price tag exceeding $1 billion. When it opened as SkyDome in 1989, its cost had reached $600 million, which tallies up to over $1.1 billion in 2021 when inflation is factored in.
Renovating the dome could also spare the team the cost and inconvenience of a temporary relocation, something players and fans are all too familiar with after the Jays were forced to play the bulk of home games in their last two seasons at much smaller ballparks in Dunedin and Buffalo.
The unconfirmed overhaul would join other upgrades in the works, with a new video board and concourse improvements announced in October, coming in time for the 2022 season.
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