FORT MYERS, Fla. - Lee County and the Minnesota Twins have announced they will break ground on the $48.5 million renovations to the Lee County Sports Complex (LCSC) and Hammond Stadium today (Thursday, Oct. 3) at 3:00 p.m. ET. The LCSC serves as the Spring Training home of the Twins as well as the team's year-round player development operations including the franchise's Florida State League affiliate Fort Myers Miracle.
"Since 1991 the Twins and Lee County have enjoyed the model public-private partnership," said Twins President Dave St. Peter. "Today's groundbreaking signifies the evolution of the partnership as well as this facility. The Twins are honored to call SW Florida home and are committed to continued year-round engagement across the community. Moreover, we believe the LCSC renovation project will only further solidify Lee County's reputation as a Grapefruit League hotbed."
"The renovations are off to a start, and we are pleased to recognize all our partners who are working as a team to ensure a successful project," said Lee County Commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass. "It's important to note that all Lee County funding for the project comes from bed taxes, not from Lee County residents."
Designed by Populous, a global sport and convention center architecture firm, the renovations will be completed in two phases.
Phase 1 renovations at LCSC are expected to be completed by the spring of 2014 and will include:
- A new residential player development academy
- Renovations to the Minor League clubhouse and administrative areas
- A new Gulf Coast League playing field
- A new agility field
- Completion of a 360 degree boardwalk and concourse at Hammond Stadium, including new berm seating in left field
- Expansion of Hammond Stadium's seating capacity of 8,000 to 9,300
- A new parking lot
The player development academy elevates the facility beyond a traditional Spring Training facility with the goal of creating a year-round, multi-discipline, residential training center for players and staff. The residential component of the academy will be paid for by the Twins organization, which is contributing $6 million to cover that component and concessions equipment.
Phase 2 additions and renovations at Hammond Stadium are expected to be completed by February 2015 and will include:
- Upgraded and expanded concourses
- Improved concession services
- Restroom renovations
- Premium seating improvements
- Clubhouse expansion and improvements
- A new retail store
- New areas for group seating
- Press box renovations
All construction, which is being managed by Manhattan Twins Joint Venture (a partnership between Manhattan Construction Company, Chris-Tel Construction and Casey Construction), is expected to be completed in time for Spring Training 2015.
The Twins have been training in Fort Myers at the Lee County Sports Complex since 1991. In November 2012, after more than 20 years of training in Fort Myers, the renovations were approved and the Twins signed a 30-year lease to remain at the Lee County Sports Complex. Each year, Spring Training games generate more than $47 million for Lee County, driving visitors to local attractions, restaurants, hotels and shopping.
"Hammond Stadium and the Lee County Sports Complex is an important part of the culture of this community and the renovations will ensure that it will continue to be for decades to come," said Populous Principal Bruce Miller. "This is an exciting moment for the Twins and for Lee County and an important step towards creating an experience- for both fans and players- that is memorable. The renovations will create more space for the team to grow and develop talent with the addition of the Twins Academy and will provide much improved amenities for fans."
"As members of the Southwest Florida community, we are excited to enhance the Lee County Sports Complex for our community and the Minnesota Twins," said Senior Vice President of Manhattan Construction Company Bruce Fields. "This is our second major league practice facility project for Lee County as construction manager. This ground breaking ceremony is of special significance because it is a time where we join together and envision the memorable moments we will all share with our families, friends and the community when the gates open."