A $60-million renovation of Tradition Field, spring-training home of the New York Mets, is moving ahead — but more slowly than anticipated, as the lack of a final lease prevents St. Lucie County from applying for an important state grant.
St. Lucie County has already approved borrowing $60 million to upgrade Tradition Field with a 360-degree concourse, better accessibility via escalators and elevators, a player dorm, upgraded team offices and more, but the action is predicated on securing state funding for the project.
Funding for the proposed renovation has many moving parts, but a very important piece is a $20 million state grant from a fund set up to help Florida cities and counties retain spring training. But before a county can apply for the state grant, it needs to have a final agreement with a team — in this case, the Mets — on a new lease, which would then require approval from the County Commission. The lack of an approved lease caused the county to miss an internal deadline for a grant application, but county officials say the renovation schedule still calls for demolition work to begin after this coming March, but anything after that is up for grabs, per TCPalm:
“The process took a little longer than anticipated, but when you’re talking about a 25-year deal, a few extra months on the front end is not that critical,” County Administrator Howard Tipton said in an email. “It’s more important to get it right than to get it fast. As soon as it’s ready, it will be presented either to the current commissioners or to the new board, as both sides want to see this move forward.”…
The county has started selection process for an architect and a project manager, Tipton said.
“The programming and, ultimately, the schedule for construction has not yet begun as the architect is not under contract yet,” Tipton said. “We still expect to begin demolition right after spring training, but as to when exactly the new construction will start is an unknown at this point.”
The tentative plan as of now calls for work to be spread out in 2018 and 2019 in order to keep the Mets training in Port St. Lucie and the minor-league St. Lucie Mets from moving out of the ballpark for any appreciable stretch of time.