- Scott Elmquist
A news release was issued from the mayor’s office Monday evening around 5:30, including the memo of understanding signed between the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Virginia Commonwealth University.
What’s the bottom line?
The Diamond is out. A new ballpark is in. The Richmond Flying Squirrels are staying -- at least for now. All signs point to the construction of a new stadium, at least the serious planning toward one, during the next year.
What has VCU agreed to do?
It will explore pinning down the land, facilitate the ballpark’s construction and serve as the primary tenant of the athletic complex.
What have the Flying Squirrels agreed to do?
Take no steps toward leaving Richmond for the next year, or at least until late September. The team also intends to enter a long-term lease on a new stadium for at least 30 years.
Where will this go?
Not on the 60 acres of city-owned land around The Diamond, but near The Diamond and within city limits.
How much money are we talking?
The cost of design, development and construction is estimated at $50 million to $60 million. The Flying Squirrels would pay annual rent of approximately $1 million.
What else would happen here?
The memo emphasizes that this is a “baseball-only facility,” but would accommodate “concerts, festivals or other community events.”
Most everything else. For now, VCU and the Flying Squirrels “have determined that their mutual uses of the stadium are compatible and potentially feasible from a business perspective.” But the structure of their new relationship is unknown. Also, others involved could include “the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Richmond, other municipalities or authorities, and private developers and investors.”