TORONTO – It’s been the subject of conversation for years and now it appears a plan is in the works to build a brand new home for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The proposal from Rogers Communications is to reportedly demolish the Rogers Centre and construct a new ballpark in its place.
Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management want to transform the huge parcel of land as part of a downtown redevelopment.
Sources tell the Globe and Mail, a new natural grass baseball-focused stadium would take up the southern end of the current property, with residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space planned for the northern portion.
This multi-billion dollar plan would be privately funded through Rogers and Brookfield are working with all three levels of government on this project.
Tons of regulatory hurdles to clear for this, primary among them is that Rogers owns the building only, not the land, which is leased from Canada Lands Company through 2088. It is zoned for stadium usage only.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 27, 2020
However, in a statement, Rogers says there is no update to plans for the Rogers Centre right now.
“Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time.”
– Andrew Garas, director of communications at Rogers.
Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro has previously expressed the need to take a wide-scale refurbishment of Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays’ home since 1989.
If plans for a new downtown stadium fall through, per the Globe, Rogers is also said to be considering building a new stadium on a lakefront site, potentially the 12-acre Quayside property where Google’s Sidewalk Labs had planned to house its now-abandoned smart-city project.
The multibillion-dollar plan would be funded by Rogers and Brookfield, but needs government approvals to move forward. While Rogers owns the stadium, the federal government owns the land.
The current ballpark remains one of only two left in Major League Baseball that uses artificial turf instead of real grass.
It is believed that the ultimate goal is for ownership to keep the new stadium downtown. Rogers is also reportedly exploring some waterfront options as a backup plan.
The current facility opened its doors in 1989 for the price of $570 million. It was the first stadium to have a fully retractable roof.
The building’s design came just ahead of MLB teams moving away from larger, concrete-heavy stadiums to move towards more open-air ‘retro-classic’ ballpark looks.
Rogers is the parent company of this website.