The Toronto Blue Jays released plans and rendered images of a newly renovated spring training and minor-league complex in Dunedin, Florida Wednesday, making it seem as though progress on the renovations of their spring training facilities could be advancing with great efficiency.
The Toronto Blue Jays have unveiled plans for a renovated spring training and minor-league baseball complex in their longtime spring home of Dunedin, Florida. Construction will begin next month, and the complex is hopefully going to be completed by spring 2020, according to Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith also adds images of the new complex, included what appears to be a multi-diamond area complete with a renovated stadium.
According to Nicholson-Smith, Blue Jays President & CEO Mark Shapiro said that he “really believe[s] that [the Blue Jays] will have the single best training centre [in MLB] the day [the] facility is done”.
These artist renderings (which can be found attached to Zwelling and Nicholson-Smith’s recent tweets) represent a new update in the long-standing stadium renovation development. Back in April, the Pinellas County Commission approved a tax allocation that would provide $41.7 million in “bed taxes” for the Blue Jays’ stadium and training facility upgrades.
Sportsnet reported back in 2016 that Populous, a well-known architectural firm known for designing the major-league stadiums of the White Sox, Rockies, Phillies, Pirates, Astros, Braves, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Twins, Marlins, Tigers, Marlins, Reds, Orioles, and Indians, would be spearheading the architectural design of the complex. The firm has also been a part of the construction and recent upgrades to Sahlen (formerly Coca-Cola) Field in Buffalo and Scotiabank Arena (formerly Air Canada Centre) in Toronto.
The guided e-tour of the proposed renovations in early 2016 look somewhat similar to those attached to the above new reports, though the updated pictures are far more detailed and seem to be more modern and accessible to guests. The new stadium appears to boast an updated Jays Shop and a restaurant of sorts down the third base line.
Dunedin Stadium, which, at various points, has been named Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (2010-17), Knology Park Park (2004-08) and Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field, has been the spring training home to the Toronto Blue Jays since it was constructed in 1990. It also serves as the home of the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. After slight renovations in 2005, the stadium has a capacity of 5,509 and is owned and operated by the City of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department.
Since taking control of the organization, Mark Shapiro, who was known for his role in helping to renovate the Cleveland Indians’ ballpark, has appeared to make the renovations and revitalizations of the Blue Jays’ spring training facilities a top priority. While nothing has yet been set in stone design-wise, these new renderings are very exciting for the many Blue Jays fans who routinely make the trip to Florida to visit their team in the Grapefruit League.