Today’s featured project is AutoZone Park located in Memphis, TN. Already considered a gem in the baseball community, Pendulum was retained by the St. Louis Cardinals to reduce the capacity of the ballpark and enhance/maximize the fan experience. The original grass seating berm felt disconnected from the game so we reduced fixed seating down each baseline in exchange for new berm. “Big Red’s BBQ” was added in right field as a group area featuring huge plumes of smoke and BBQ smells on the concourse. ADA seating was also expanded throughout the existing seating bowl.
Throughout the renovation process there was a great emphasis on the addition semi-premium amenities to cater to a younger demographic. We reduced the final premium suite count from 40 to 22, then repurposed the square-footage as group areas that included billiards tables, branded bars, and administrative offices.
View From Renovated Home Plate Club
Right Field Line Billiards Club
AutoZone Park Renovation was the recipient of Ballpark Digest’s 2015 Best Ballpark Renovation Award.
Today’s featured project is Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, the home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Midwest league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. For an in-depth overview of the project and behind scenes video check out Episode One of “The Details” on our website by clicking the link below.
The Details Episode 01
The original ballpark was completed in 1995 for $6M. The Fox Cities Amateur Sports Authority invested an additional $6M in a complete renovation for the 2013 season. The renovation included doubling the existing concession and restroom infrastructure, new administrative offices, new team store, expanded storage, the addition of six premium sky boxes, and a banquet facility to accommodate 400 patrons year-round.
Original 1995 Main Entrance
Approximately twelve years ago the President & General Manager of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Rob Zerjav and I began “chatting” about the “what ifs”. Those of us in the sports design business are very familiar with this “chat”, in fact we all field calls and chase down leads with team owners, municipalities, and general managers in hopes of being selected to design the next ballpark. To be honest, 75% of the time the projects never happen after pouring your entire being into getting it across the finish line. For some reason this project felt like the exception to the rule. We’d get heavily involved in charting a course and then we’d slow down for a year or two…”the timing is just not right” Rob would tell me. We’d start again and we’d inch closer but then we’d slow down again. Finally after ten years I got an email from Rob saying “I know you’ve heard this before, but this time I think we’ve got a good shot”. The rest is history.
My father always says “timing is everything”. That familiar phrase used to frustrate me as a youth but I can see the wisdom in his words now. The truth of the matter is if Rob and I would have closed the deal 12 years ago the ballpark “addition” (I refuse to call it a renovation anymore), would be totally different from what it is today. The project matured over time as the traditional baseball model continued to evolve.
The original ballpark was constructed in 1995 for a total of $5,000,000. Since the ballpark was designed for only seasonal use (no winters), there was a substantial void in premium amenities which translates to unattained annual potential revenue. While our initial focus was on a ballpark renovation that would fix minimum compliance issues per the MiLB Facility Standards, Rob and I both knew that there was more to this project than a few band aids. The Club Lounge is what makes this renovation an “addition”.
We added a full service kitchen and 30 foot bar to accommodate the 4,500 square foot Club Lounge. Over 400 guests are comfortably served at events with premium views to the playing field surface and outdoor access to the tiered balcony deck equipped with padded stadium seating. State of the art audio and visual equipment including a projection screen and LED televisions facilitate presentations during corporate events and weddings which push the space over the top.
The one programmatic item that never changed during our “chats” was the fact that Rob wanted to make a visual impact with the new covered ballpark main entry, team store and front office. He was very consistent in saying “this organization and my staff deserve to look professional and feel like champions”. We added approximately 20,000 square feet of retail, administrative, and hospitality spaces to this ballpark, in essence doubling the original (1995) enclosed square footage.
- Design Architect – Pendulum
- Signage & Graphic Design – Pendulum
- Architect of Record – The Boldt Company
- Budget: $6,000,000
- Approximately 50% of the existing structure was demolished
- The overall enclosed square footage was doubled
- Toilet fixtures and Concession points of sales were doubled in capacity
- Ballpark storage capacity was doubled
- Yes – the ballpark now meets MiLB Facility Standards
- Rob Zerjav, you are a man of your word and one of the most gracious individuals I know. Thank You!
- John Iiams – Our “ambassador of kwan” – great effort on this project!
- Photography – John Iiams, Iiams Images
In preparation for the official unveiling scheduled for June 7th rapid progress is being made on site in spite of the rain. Installation of the plaza light bollards along 18th street as well as the finishing touches on site grading and landscape was completed today. Programming of the lighting/art installation began this evening and will continue through early next week. The artist niches will get a fresh coat of paint just in time for the ceremony.
If you’ll be in the neighborhood (18th & Locust) on June 7th (“First Friday”) around 6pm please be sure to stop by and enjoy the festivities. Jim Woodfill’s light display in the main art cabinet is a must see. For a sneak peek of tonight’s light programming session check us out on instagram (pendulum_kc)
*Photographs by Iiams Images
Pendulum Studio has been selected to design the renovation of Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium located in Grand Chute, WI. The ballpark was originally constructed in 1995 during an era of MiLB ballparks geared primarily toward compliance with minimum National Association (NA) facility standards. Although this strategy provided a safe and comfortable destination for enjoying America’s favorite pastime, shifts in the traditional baseball business model over the past 17 years has presented quite a few challenges for most teams operating in facilities built prior to the late 90’s. Some of the key challenges associated with maintaining a competitive edge in aged facilities are as follows:
- Shortage of concession points of sale
- Lack of appropriate toilet fixture ratios
- Lack of diversity in seating inventory
- Absence of premium amenities
- Limited ability to function on a year-round basis
- inadequate storage capacity
While the traditional baseball business model focused on the “game”, the new in minor league baseball is centered around maximizing fan comfort and family entertainment. Although “the game” is still the vehicle for attracting patrons to the front gates, “the show” between innings on the field, during the game in the stands and on the concourses is what keeps people (especially families) coming back for more. Because of the popularity in this trend, new and renovated facilities are moving toward more compact lower density seating configurations that promote diversity in seating inventory (group, premium, semi-premium) versus the typical fixed armchair seating. In the wake of the decline of corporate participation in the form of sponsorship and long-term premium suite lease agreements we now see teams trending heavily toward multi-use flex spaces in the form of meeting rooms and banquet space that can also be configured to accommodate traditional suite functions during games. This move has enabled teams to extend facility use beyond the confines of the regular season thus also maximizing the potential for revenue which promotes economic sustainability.
The planned improvements to Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium are geared toward complimenting some of the forward thinking improvements that were already completed prior to the previous season. These improvements were instrumental in diversifying existing seating inventory – i.e. the first & third base bullpen premium seating shown below.
This next phase of improvements will focus on relocating enclosed premium inventory from the main concourse to a newly constructed suite/banquet level, expanding administrative, retail, food service and storage capacity while increasing the ability of the facility to accommodate year-round events. The images below illustrate the proposed look and feel of our schematic design concepts. We will continue to update this imagery as we progress toward the final design and documentation. It is an honor to be working with the Timber Rattlers on this exciting project. Opening day in April 2013 is going to be special.