Prospects to pitch RE/MAX Field lease extension in exchange for upgrades
The Edmonton Prospects Baseball Club plan to appeal to city council to stay in RE/MAX Field long-term.
The club says they will invest between $2.75 million to $3.25 million in upgrades to the facility if the city grants them a 25-year lease.
In 2016, the Prospects signed a four-year lease with the city. That agreement is set to expire at the end of the 2019 season. A fifth-year option was included as part of the agreement, but the club says the city doesn’t seem interested in pursuing that option.
“We don’t really know what the future holds right now,” Prospects owner Patrick Cassidy told media on Thursday. “The city wants to go to an RFP. I think they’re hoping that a Triple A group comes along and makes a proposal.”
The team says they’ve increased game attendance on an annual 18-24 per cent rate. Cassidy believes at their current rate of growth, they’ll be able to get investors on board with their proposal.
“We’ve grown at 20 per cent a year for the last few years. We’re not sure where the ceiling is,” Cassidy said.
“There are people who will finance that type of situation.”
Big plans for RE/MAX Field
The list of upgrades the team is prepared to finance includes new LED lighting, a new digital scoreboard, new artificial turf, a kids zone, a new patio or concession near first base, electrical and mechanical work, and handicap access.
Planned upgrades to the Home Plate Lounge could allow the restaurant to be open all year and available to residents.
“They’ve got nothing down here,” Cassidy said. “They’ve got to go uptown just to grab a coffee.”
Cassidy says they could bring more concerts into the field if improvements are made to the current building egress and if measures were put in to protect the field surface.
At this point the team does not have a contingency plan for the end of the lease after the 2019 season.
“We’re trying to run a ball team here, we’re trying to run a business,” Cassidy said.
“We’re Edmontonians, we want to be here, we’re trying to find a solution.”
The Prospects intend to present their proposal to city council on Feb. 15.