The Mets and St. Lucie County have spent the last few years discussing a spring training facilities project that includes renovations to First Data Field and the adjacent complex. Player facilities at both the complex and ballpark would be upgraded, while First Data Field would see improvements to several fan amenities.
A completion date of 2020 was at one point targeted for the $55 million project, but that could change. The Mets and St. Lucie County have had to negotiate some terms after initial plans came in over budget, prompting discussions about a scaled-down renovation. Work to finalize a scaled-down renovation is still taking place, and county officials say that the project’s completion may ultimately be pushed back to 2021. More from TCPalm:
At the same time, negotiations between the county and the New York Mets, which use the complex as their spring training home, could end up delaying completion of the work for up to a year, pushing it into 2021, officials said.
It took several months for the county and the Mets to agree on a scaled-back plan that removes the center field section of a proposed 360-degree concourse and relocates softball fields, among other changes.
Work initially was to start in late March, after spring training, County Administrator Howard Tipton said, but was put on hold after project and construction managers determined the architect’s conceptual and design plans would cost about $61 million.
A start date for construction still has not been set, Tipton said, but it could be as soon as the fall or as late as the end of 2019 spring training.
St. Lucie County commissioners did vote on Tuesday to give tentative approval to a scaled-down proposal, though more work will have to take place before the plan is put up for final approval in the coming weeks. St. Lucie County officials have already approved borrowing $60 million ($55 million for the upcoming renovation, $5 million to cover an earlier loan for upgrades), and the county is receiving a $20 million state grant to be paid over 20 years. The Mets, meanwhile, will keep spring training in Port St. Lucie through 2042.