CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Guardians Thursday announced renovation projects that are scheduled to be completed over the next three years as a result of the Cleveland Guardians new lease extension at Progressive Field announced last year.
The Guardians vision for Progressive Field focuses mostly on area's of the ballpark not touched since its opening in 1994 and transforms them into spaces that fans in 2024 say they will want. Places where they can watch the game yes but also hang out with friends.
"Fans actually want to have spaces and places where they can engage socially with other fans and not necessarily be confined to a specific seat," said Brian Barren, Guardians president of usiness Operations.
That was the thinking behind the Corner Bar years ago and the thinking behind a revamped upper deck that will feature down the left field line a beer garden with open air gathering spaces that are situated above the reimagined Terrace Club that is being converted into a Terrace Hub with ticketed seating on the two and three hundred levels and a 400 level open to all. They will also remove some areas of upper deck seating behind home plate to allow for views of the field and additional concessions.
And in right field the little used standing room-only spaces that were part of the 2014 renovations will be gone as well. "The shipping containers, as they've been called by our fans and by many of us were standing-room-only spaces that frankly outside of opening day and the postseason weren't necessarily the best fan experience," said Barren. "So as we reimagined that space in particular and removed those creating more flexible spaces for group outings and better food and beverage options, we believe will create a great gathering space with some terrific views not only of the ballpark but of Cleveland as a whole."
That extra upstairs right field space is made possible in part by the addition of a whole new building along East 9 Street to allow for expansion of the player's clubhouse giving the team space to support player preparation, performance and recovery. Space that team President Chris Antonetti says is critical when it comes to fielding a competitive team.
"I think players have come to expect that. There have been great improvements throughout all levels of sport, whether it's high school athletics, college athletics and certainly professional athletics," Antonetti said. "Players expectations the support they're provided in both facilities and resources is greatly enhanced from where it may have been a few years ago."
Not announced Thursday were plans for a brick-and-mortar sports book. The team has partnered with Fanatics for one. MLB rules require it not to be in the ballpark or at least not in a space that's open to ticketed customers. The team says an adjacent location will be announced soon and open in time for Opening Day.
“Progressive Field has been a fantastic home to Cleveland Baseball since it opened in 1994,” said Cleveland Guardians Owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Dolan. “We are excited to continue to call Progressive Field home for decades to come, and we look forward to providing new experiences and updated enhancements to our fans, players and staff through renovation projects that will continue to keep our ballpark competitive as one of the best venues in Major League Baseball.”
In a release the team put out the areas the scheduled renovation projects will focus on:
Revamped Upper Deck
The revamped Upper Deck will feature multiple social spaces for fans to enjoy the game. The new-look Upper Deck will feature a Beer Garden down the left field line, a new group outing
space in right field, and new concession spaces, including two new View Box bars that will flank home plate and allow for more open sightlines from the Upper Deck concourse.
The current Terrace Club will be reimagined as an open-air hub with terraced-ticketed seating on the 200 and 300-levels, and a new expansive authentic-to-Cleveland Beer Hall food and beverage experience on the 400-level that will be open to all ticketed patrons at Progressive Field. The ticketed seating sections will have their own private club space on the 300-level.
The new Dugout Club will combine the best of both worlds when it comes to premium seating, allowing for the same great field-level seats that currently exist while creating a new exclusive lounge behind home plate. The Club will also feature seven private lounges to allow for groups to enjoy an exclusive experience.
Clubhouses & Service Level
Both clubhouses, as well as the ballpark Service Level, will be updated for the first time since the ballpark opened in 1994. The new home clubhouse will be completely reimagined with a focus on player amenities in performance, training and recovery.
Through these renovations, we will significantly improve our ability to support player preparation, performance, and recovery through expanded and enhanced strength and conditioning and athletic training areas, improved kitchen facilities, more robust technological support for players, coaches, and staff members, among other improvements.
East 9th Street Building
To allow for the clubhouse expansion, a new four-level E. 9th street building will be erected in right field to allow for a new kitchen and commissary for the Guardians concessionaire, as well as additional storage facilities for the ballpark. The rooftop of the new E. 9th street building will connect to the Upper Concourse and serve as a new group space at Progressive Field.
Cleveland Guardians Front Office
The Guardians Front Office will also be fully renovated for the first time since 1994. As part of the renovation, the Guardians will add a fifth floor to the current four-level structure.
The funding for the projects will be supported by the new lease agreement which extends the current lease to 2036 (with potential options to extent to 2046) and was agreed upon between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, State of Ohio, the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Guardians. The estimated total of the projects will be $202.5 million with $67.5 million coming from the Cleveland Guardians. The Guardians are also responsible to provide additional funds to cover cost overages, if any, that may result from the projects.
The Guardians expect all renovations to be completed by the 2025 season. The schematic design process is close to completion, and the majority of the 2023 season will focus on design development with the hope of starting construction at the end of the 2023 season.
2024 Opening Day Project Completion
• Upper Deck Experience
• East 9 Street Building
2025 Opening Day Project Completion
• Terrace Hub
• Dugout Club
• Clubhouses & Service Level
• Administrative Offices
Manica is serving as the lead design architect on the finalized projects, while Ohio-based Moody Nolan – the largest African American Architecture firm in the US – is serving as the architect of record.
Mortenson is the national construction manager while Northeast Ohio’s Independence Construction will work with Mortenson in providing construction management services.