UrbanToronto News - the latest headlines
Signage Variance Application Submitted for 160 Front West
ALSO


Natural Grass in the Rogers Centre/Possibility of a New Baseball Stadium in Toronto

Translude15

Frank the Tank
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
573
A recent article in the NP chronicled the complications of developing and installing grass inside the Rogers Centre. I know Rogers and the Jays are really pushing for real grass but at this stage it isn't a guarantee.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/13/toronto-blue-jays-want-grass-in-the-rogers-centre-an-inside-look-at-the-difficult-growth-process-it-requires/

Many Jays fans seems to be clamouring for a new baseball facility as the Dome becomes more obsolete relative to newer MLB ballparks. Gweed brought up Bloor-Dundas as a possible ballpark location in another thread. I have seen others post online about Christie Pitts being an ideal location. Other suggestions include Dowsnview and the Portlands.

Before considering a new ballpark, I believe Rogers should first look into extensively renovating the Rogers Centre as it is in desperate need of a serious face lift and retrofit. Should installing grass prove impossible and renovation costs be substantial, should a new baseball stadium be built in this city? If so, where are the prime locations to do so from a land and transportation perspective?
 

gweed123

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
7,447
Location
Burlington
Thanks for starting this thread! Yes, I agree that we're getting to the point where the Rogers Centre is quickly becoming obsolete as far as baseball in concerned. It's one of only 2 non-baseball specific stadiums left in the MLB (the other being Oakland, which is deep in talks about building a new stadium). It's undeniable that baseball-specific stadiums provide better sightlines and bring people closer to the game.

And yes, I think that Dundas West would be an ideal location for a new baseball stadium. I posted some stuff in the Georgetown South thread, so I won't repeat myself too much. Needless to say, given the multiple transit options in the immediate vicinity, it's possibly the best connected site in Toronto, next to Union. A southeast facing stadium would provide an amazing backdrop of downtown, and the urban character of the area would give it a real Wrigley Field vibe.

Personally, I think retrofitting Rogers Centre as a football specific stadium, most likely for the NFL, would be a better bet than retrofitting it to become baseball-specific, as the Jays have proposed. Also, the NFL plays mostly in the fall and winter, so a dome is more crucial for that, as opposed to the Jays who outside of the beginning of April and the end of the September (and hopefully, October) play in pretty nice weather.
 

gweed123

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
7,447
Location
Burlington
From the GTS thread:

Even with all the transit connections to Union Station, the Skydome still generates an absurd amount of automobile traffic. Could Dundas West area handle that? I doubt it.
Part of that I think is because of the lack of GO trains on anything except Lakeshore. By the time this new stadium would be built, the Georgetown South corridor would be carrying a huge volume of traffic from the entire western GTHA, with the exception of Lakeshore West traffic. Auto traffic could be an issue, but I think encouraging people to park at a transit station and take transit in (Kipling for example) could work. They could also work out a deal with the TTC and GO to make either of them free to and from the game when you present your ticket. Build it into the cost of every ticket as an incentive for people to use transit.
 

pw20

Active Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
822
My out of the box idea for this: Rogers swaps the SkyDome land to Oxford, proper baseball stadium is built along Front Street/Cantilevered over the railway tracks, Oxford implodes the Dome and redevelops that land for Oxford Place. Baseball-only stadiums have relatively small footprints vis-a-vis the Rogers Centre.

I would hate the Portlands personally - .would prefer something more integrated into a neighbourhood.
 

ChesterCopperpot

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
3,348
Location
Toronto
I really don't think Rogers are willing to put up $500million to build a new baseball specific stadium

My out of the box idea for this: Rogers swaps the SkyDome land to Oxford, proper baseball stadium is built along Front Street/Cantilevered over the railway tracks, Oxford implodes the Dome and redevelops that land for Oxford Place. Baseball-only stadiums have relatively small footprints vis-a-vis the Rogers Centre.
I'm pretty sure Rogers only owns the building - they don't own the actual land the building is on
 
Last edited:

Translude15

Frank the Tank
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
573
All interesting ideas. As for the retrofitting of RC into a baseball-only facility, I'm thinking of a complete overhaul vis-a-vis BC Place or MSG (done in multiple stages): Replacing the lower bowl seating from multi-purpose to permanent for baseball, replacing the seating (which I believe is still original), etc. Similar to what pw20 suggested, perhaps deck over the railway tracks and expand the outfield area and allow for natural light to penetrate into the playing area. That would obviously require removal of the hotel.

Surely these types of upgrades would cost into the hundreds of millions but perhaps feasible if done in stages and when compared to the cost of building an entirely new stadium. If Rogers doesn't want to spend money on a new stadium they are going to have to spend something similar to upgrade the Dome because as is, the facility will only become more of a deterrent for fans and players.
 
Last edited:

someMidTowner

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Staff member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,895
Location
(Former) Ward 16
Oxford implodes the Dome
Other than the Three Sisters smokestacks in 'Sauga, when is the last time explosives were used on a demo in the GTA?
 

gweed123

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
7,447
Location
Burlington
I really don't think Rogers are willing to put up $500million to build a new baseball specific stadium
They may be if they're able to sell the Rogers Centre to a prospective NFL owner. Baseball stadiums are generally easier to integrate into the urban fabric than NFL football stadiums, primarily due to footprint. There are many more sites in Toronto where a baseball stadium would work than there are sites for NFL football stadiums. The only 2 that really come to mind for me are the Portlands and Downsview. There are several for baseball stadiums, including Dundas West & Bloor, Christie Pits, or the Honeydale Mall site in Etobicoke (could be accompanied by a 1 stop subway extension and GO station move), just to name a few.
 

Translude15

Frank the Tank
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
573
Gweed, I understand the sentiment behind retrofitting the Dome to football only, but unfortunately, I don't foresee an NFL franchise is coming to Toronto anytime soon.
 

gweed123

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
7,447
Location
Burlington
Gweed, I understand the sentiment behind retrofitting the Dome to football only, but unfortunately, I don't foresee an NFL franchise is coming to Toronto anytime soon.
Not in the immediate future, but it would take about 10 years to plan and build a new baseball-specific stadium. The Jaguars won't be in Jacksonville for much longer, and Oakland is trying desperately to hold onto the Raiders. There's also the possibility of expansion, for which LA, Toronto, and London are the top 3 contenders.

Expansion teams are usually announced at least a year or two in advance, so if the Jays get the ball rolling on a new stadium now, and start making retrofit plans for the Dome, both could be ready by the time an NFL team arrives.

I know it's pretty pie in the sky now, but you need to start planning for a replacement stadium before it's needed imminently. You really want to avoid situations like in Pittsburgh (where the Pens almost moved), or situations like LA (where the Raiders and Rams DID move). I live in Ottawa right now, and I think the Sens are doing the right thing by looking at replacements now, so that by the time they do need to move, the stadium will be almost ready. I think the Blue Jays should follow that same model. They can make whatever interim improvements they can to the Rogers Centre, be it real grass or slightly reconfiguring the lower bowl, but they should be looking long-term at a new home.
 

ChesterCopperpot

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
3,348
Location
Toronto
Rogers holds 54,000 for football - it needs at least 8,000 more seats to make it the same capacity as the current smallest stadium in the NFL - Soldier Field in Chicago.

I cannot see how the Rogers Centre can be expanded so much without costs running to hundreds of millions of dollars. That's even if they can find an NFL team. And we saw all that hoopla with the failed Rogers/Tannenbaum/Bon Jovi bid for the Bills I don't see it happening
 

someMidTowner

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Staff member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,895
Location
(Former) Ward 16
Rogers holds 54,000 for football - it needs at least 8,000 more seats to make it the same capacity as the current smallest stadium in the NFL - Soldier Field in Chicago.
Soldier Field, (which will turn 91 this year) may be the oldest active stadium in the NFL, but it ain't the smallest! TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis holds 50,805 - a few thousand less than the Rogers Centre.
Granted TCF has been built to allow a future expansion which would up the capacity to 80k.
 

gweed123

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
7,447
Location
Burlington
Rogers holds 54,000 for football - it needs at least 8,000 more seats to make it the same capacity as the current smallest stadium in the NFL - Soldier Field in Chicago.

I cannot see how the Rogers Centre can be expanded so much without costs running to hundreds of millions of dollars. That's even if they can find an NFL team. And we saw all that hoopla with the failed Rogers/Tannenbaum/Bon Jovi bid for the Bills I don't see it happening
For NFL football, you can build additional seats in the end zones, where currently on either side there's nothing. Not exactly ideal, but that would add a couple thousand seats, at least. You could also take out the hotel and add seats or boxes along that side.

And yes, I agree that the Bon Jovi thing was kind of a joke, but it's no secret that there are a couple NFL teams that are in financial trouble, and several markets that the league is looking to expand into. I don't think an NFL team is in Toronto's immediate future, but it will likely happen within the planning horizon of a new baseball stadium (10-15 years).
 

Translude15

Frank the Tank
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
573
Not in the immediate future, but it would take about 10 years to plan and build a new baseball-specific stadium. The Jaguars won't be in Jacksonville for much longer, and Oakland is trying desperately to hold onto the Raiders. There's also the possibility of expansion, for which LA, Toronto, and London are the top 3 contenders.

Expansion teams are usually announced at least a year or two in advance, so if the Jays get the ball rolling on a new stadium now, and start making retrofit plans for the Dome, both could be ready by the time an NFL team arrives.

I know it's pretty pie in the sky now, but you need to start planning for a replacement stadium before it's needed imminently. You really want to avoid situations like in Pittsburgh (where the Pens almost moved), or situations like LA (where the Raiders and Rams DID move). I live in Ottawa right now, and I think the Sens are doing the right thing by looking at replacements now, so that by the time they do need to move, the stadium will be almost ready. I think the Blue Jays should follow that same model. They can make whatever interim improvements they can to the Rogers Centre, be it real grass or slightly reconfiguring the lower bowl, but they should be looking long-term at a new home.
Yeah we will see what happens with the NFL in TO situation but my understanding has always been that a new football-only facility would be built elsewhere rather than relying on current infrastructure. That in itself ensures any prospective owner(s) have exceptionally deep pockets which I see as a hindrance to the city ever actually landing a team.

The Sens have definitely needed a new downtown/centralized arena as having one out in Kanata has hurt their attendance figures a little bit. Not saying their attendance is bad but it is lagging relative to what other Canadian teams draw on a nightly basis.

Although it would be awesome if the Jays were to play in a brand new ballpark, I've always liked the centrality of the Dome and its uniqueness. That said, I think a full-scale overhaul like what was done in Vancouver is worth investigating along with looking into building a brand new park. It would be interesting to see how the Dome could be modernized for baseball and failing that, yes, by all means, green light plans for a new stadium.
 

gweed123

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
7,447
Location
Burlington
Yeah we will see what happens with the NFL in TO situation but my understanding has always been that a new football-only facility would be built elsewhere rather than relying on current infrastructure. That in itself ensures any prospective owner(s) have exceptionally deep pockets which I see as a hindrance to the city ever actually landing a team.
That's true. I just think that there are very few sites in Toronto where an NFL stadium would actually fit. Like I said before, it's pretty much either the Portlands or Downsview, that's about it. Unless they wanted to investigate doing a Patriots type of thing and locating the stadium in Milton or something.

The Sens have definitely needed a new downtown/centralized arena as having one out in Kanata has hurt their attendance figures a little bit. Not saying their attendance is bad but it is lagging relative to what other Canadian teams draw on a nightly basis.
Agreed. Centralness and accessibility is key, especially for a stadium that frequently hosts events. NFL stadiums don't need to be AS central, because of the relative infrequency of use. And there's no doubt that the location of CTC is a hindrance to attendance. I really hope the LeBreton Flats proposal works out, especially given the Confederation Line station there is under construction as I type this (they set up the Booth St detour for construction last month, and they're starting bridge work this week).

Although it would be awesome if the Jays were to play in a brand new ballpark, I've always liked the centrality of the Dome and its uniqueness. That said, I think a full-scale overhaul like what was done in Vancouver is worth investigating along with looking into building a brand new park. It would be interesting to see how the Dome could be modernized for baseball and failing that, yes, by all means, green light plans for a new stadium.
Agreed. The biggest problem I have with the dome though is the distance the seats are from the field. That kind of structural change is difficult to do without something even bigger than a BC Place-style reno. But if they can modernize the place, I suspect they can get another 10-15 years out of it, even if the location of the seats isn't dramatically changed. On the other hand, if the price tag for such a modernization comes close to the price tag of a new baseball-specific outdoor stadium, then that changes the game completely.
 

Top