What’s going on with the Chattanooga Lookouts stadium?

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AT&T Field opened back in April of 2000. | Photo via @owenlangphoto

“Are we getting a new baseball stadium? What’s going on with that, anyway?”

We’d be lying if we said that we weren’t wondering the same thing after seeing so many headlines regarding the Lookouts’ home. Today, we’re hoping to answer some of the same questions you may have surrounding the potential stadium development.

Why do we need a new stadium?

You may be wondering why talk about a new stadium is even happening, especially considering the fact that AT&T Field is still relatively newit officially opened in April of 2000, and even in articles discussing the short lifespan of stadiums, most make it at least 30 years. But now, at only 22 years old, we’re going to build another? Why?

In 2020, Major League Baseball issued a new list of facility standards after taking over minor league operations.

Simply put, AT&T Field didn’t meet all those standards. What does that mean? If there’s a lack of progress on a new ballpark, Major League Baseball could relocate Cincinnati’s Double-A team (aka, our precious Lookouts) somewhere else, thanks to the opt-out terms in the team’s 10-year contract

Why not just renovate the current stadium? Well, some of the standards could be fixed, but others can’t due to AT&T Field’s structure (i.e., our clubhouses, which have no room for expansion).

Where will it be?

News about a stadium development proposed for the former US Pipe/Wheland Foundry site has gained popularity in recent months, but the site has actually been eyed for a new stadium since 2018, thanks to a South Broad District Study.

A proposed development would turn the 141-acre site into not only a stadium, but a full mixed-use development (think: The Battery Atlanta.)

What are we waiting for?

A new stadium ain’t cheap, and the funding plans are somewhat sticky. Earlier this month, both Mayor Coppinger + Mayor Kelly requested $20.8 million in state funding for the new stadium, which was denied.

However, a provision that was inserted into the state budget does allow for the city to keep a majority of the state’s 7% sales taxes on items sold inside the stadium, excluding the portion directed to public education, which is a step forward.

Ultimately, there’s still no definitive answer about the future of the Lookouts’ home yet — but we’ll be sure to keep you updated.