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Jim Furtado
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Rogers Centre Newsbeat

Monday, September 25, 2023

How to Save an Aging Ballpark

Led by the architecture firm Populous, the first phase of this $300 million CAD ($222 million USD) facelift debuted this season. The team trimmed capacity by 7% by removing about 8,000 seats, reconfigured the dimensions of the field, and added a host of gathering spaces to the 34-year-old facility.

“We’re in the business of competing for people’s time and money, and we’re competing with a broadcast experience that’s vastly different and better than when Rogers Centre was built,” says Blue Jays Executive Vice President Anuk Karunaratne. “We have to create reasons for people to want to come down here, and in doing so we need to create an experience that is reflective of what people expect when they go out in the city.”

The heart of this season’s fixes is a new “Outfield District” centered around multiple neighborhood bar-like social spaces. On the upper deck, the Corona Rooftop Patio is filled with the type of contemporary design touches and decorations one would expect for an Instagram-baiting rooftop bar, while Park Social promises to be a “park within the park,” with games and lawn furniture that attract an all-ages crowd. At field level, The Stop references unrealized early plans for a transit station inside the stadium; its subway tiles, blown up Toronto Transit Commission map, and mural full of local landmarks drive the point home. Nearby, The Catch resembles the type of newish downtown spot one goes for cocktails and small plates. New viewing decks along both foul poles and a shifted outfield wall that has brought seats closer to the field created asymmetrical dimensions for players to negotiate. Also, both bullpens are now fully visible.

“There’s a special sort of atmosphere that comes from being in a ballpark outfield that’s never quite the same,” says Derek Sommers, associate principal at Populous. “A lot of it is about providing a really comfortable space for fans, channeling that feeling of a great summertime game, even when the roof is closed.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 25, 2023 at 07:17 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, rogers centre



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