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Cleveland: FirstEnergy Stadium renovations

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Not sure what topic thread this should be under but I figured this was the closest to what was discussed this morning.

On my way into work this AM I was listening to 92.3 the fan and they had David Gilbert in studio, who is the President of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. They got on the topic of both the Cleveland Browns and Indians having stadium issues coming up, as far as leases expiring. Essentially David said that Cleveland needs to start planning now instead of waiting until the last minute to try and pass a new tax to pay for the stadium(s). Which I completely agree with, Cleveland needs to do everything they can to keep the Browns/Indians in Cleveland. However, after the segment was over Daryl Ruiter (beat writer for Cleveland Browns) gave his "plan" on what he would do and I wanted to give the 10,000 foot view of his plan and get peoples' thoughts, opinions and see if this is even viable because I thought it made sense at a high level.

 

Anyways, the Indians lease is up at the end of 2023, he mentioned that the current stadium is too big and has too many suites to support the local team (which I 100% agree). He said they should build a smaller more intimate stadium (32,000 - 35,000 seats and 60ish suites), similar to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I think that PNC Park is probably one of the nicest parks in all of baseball. Location, he mention possibly building where the current Wolstein Center is right now. Not sure if that is viable location (that's why I'm putting this out there). Anyways, if that was a possibility, he mentioned that Cleveland Browns stadium can be built on the old Progressive Field lot. Again, sounds good on the surface, not sure how viable it is or if people would even want this.

Either way, Browns Stadium needs to be moved off the lake. When (If) the Browns ever put a winning football team on the field again, that current stadium is a mess to get in/out of. With only two entrances, due to the lake, trying to get 65,000 people in/out of a stadium is a complete disaster. Also, with it being an open air stadium, it's essentially wasted real estate except for 10-12 events a year. Total waste. Finally, I'm not sure how reliable/true this is, but friend of mine told me that he worked on the stadium during the renovations, Cleveland was in a such of rush to rebuild a stadium that they essentially used the cheapest of the cheap materials to build the place. He said when the renovations were being done the "guts" of the stadium are a disaster and a new stadium would need to be built sooner rather than later. Again, not sure how true this is, but I took it at face value for someone that worked in the stadium.

 

Just wanted to get people's thoughts, reactions, or if we have anyone out there that can chime into how viable a plan this would be. It will definitely be an interesting 3-10 years for Cleveland sports.

Edited by Stang10
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The Indians just renovated their ballpark. They will not be building a new one because they don’t have to, nor should they as they have one of the nicest parks in MLB. 

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Progressive field is one of the smallest ballparks in MLB already as far as seating capacity. Yes, they did go overboard with the number of suites, but that is not a reason to tear it down.  Wasn't Progressive Field rated as the best ballpark in MLB in a recent survey?

 

It's a shame they were in such a hurry to build the new Browns stadium.  Putting it on the site of the old stadium was a mistake IMO.  Rather that doing extensive renovations, it would probably make sense to build a new stadium with a retractable roof at another location.     

 

As far as a new tax, forget about it.  Cuyahoga County residents are paying the highest taxes in the state.  They need to get the surrounding counties to pony up some cash to finance these facilities.

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As long as the tax payers don't contribute a dime for a new stadium, then Jimmy and Dee can build whatever they'd like on whatever land they purchase. 

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If they want to replace their 20 year old stadiums they can pay for it themselves. These stadium deals are money pits for the city and county.

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This thread is going to get locked before it has a chance to take off.

 

92.3 is obsessed with saying the Jake is a POS and OLD, yadayada despite it always being called one of the premier in the league in so many sports columns as well as with guests. MLB wouldn't have given us an ASG if they thought our stadium was terrible. If ticket prices come down to a reasonable amount (mostly fee BS), and in park prices don't kill you every game they wouldn't have attendance problems. I'd love to buy a quarter season plan, but I also like grabbing a beer or three at games and at 10+ a pop, it adds up quickly and drains my desire to go to more than a few games a year. 

 

As far as THIS thread is concerned, First Energy was built quickly and whatever, but it's an attraction where it is, especially if Haslams develop the lakefront as has been proposed. It's an anchor for a much larger thing. I think of Heinz Field when it comes to surrounding development and waterfront land. Also, build more transit down there, or get people to walk more and boom, your access issues are solved. The city should also work with traffic engineering firms to enhance the flow as well (my old firm did this for a lot of NFL teams). I went to the Bills game this year and it was AWESOME to be able to take transit from Old Brooklyn there and back, embrace having a stadium in the city (with the amenities it brings)

 

Lastly, to say it's a FES is POS is bizarre- I came from WNY and Ralph Wilson is a POS, not to mention the radio guys suggested moving a new stadium to the middle of nowhere aka hearkening back to the Richfield Colosseum days. Somehow the 'guts' of Ralph Wilson and Arrowhead Stadiums (among other OLD stadiums) are A-O-K to keep putting money in and renovations. 

 

The area has much larger things to be concerned about - Progressive Field is pretty damn nice and ranks high year over year, First Energy Stadium is in a good spot if Haslams put their development plans in motion and really isn't that bad. 

 

TLDR; listen to who's doing the talking. Buffalo always has to deal with this crap the stadium is outdated, modern amenities are needed, etc., etc., rarely is it the casual fan saying this, it's almost always the leagues, owners, and mouthpieces aka 92.3.

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Cleveland is one of the few cities in the country that has three professional sporting venues within walking distance of one another. That's a huge asset for the urban core; its value should not be overlooked.

 

Edited by Frmr CLEder
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Ruiter is an idiot.....Progressive Field is already 35K seats might already has the lowest seating capacity in the MLB.  Plus they just renovated it.......And its location is perfect.  

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Yeah, big no on that. Progressive Field is awesome. And capacity is 34,700. Browns Stadium there? 10 game days a year to help feed East 4th?  Hell no

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Yeah I thought Progressive Field was pretty small as far as capacity is concerned, after they took out the seats in RF and put the shipping containers in the upper deck but couldn't recall. But I can see his thought about making it more intimate. If you are in the upper deck at the stadium, it feels like you're miles from the field. So I can see how that could be a plus. I just brought them up as a possible move/new stadium because the lease issue and it's also being well reported that the Dolans are looking to sell. So new owner means new stadium/relocation.

 

But anyways to get back to the Browns, if my friend is right about the "guts" being a disaster, that could be why when the Haslams' looked at putting a retractable roof on the stadium a few years ago it wasn't feasible. The cost to put a roof on that stadium, maybe the stadium couldn't take the stress levels without some sort of major reinforcement put in place which would probably be very expensive. This is all speculation on my part, obviously. If a stadium is built on the lake again, the city/Browns/county need to make it more accessible to get in/out. I'm a season ticket holder and it's ridiculous getting in/out of that place early in the season/primetime games when the hype was high for the team.

Edited by Stang10
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Yes nebulous comments about poor build quality and rushed design is how you slowly warm the pot. The county, for example, has been slowly boiling frogs over the Justice Center the last few years.

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14 minutes ago, Mendo said:

Yes nebulous comments about poor build quality and rushed design is how you slowly warm the pot. The county, for example, has been slowly boiling frogs over the Justice Center the last few years.

 

The Justice Center actually needs it though. It isn't built for today, as is the case with most brutalist buildings (they don't play well with networking equipment, wifi, etc.).

 

The stadium on the other hand is already essentially a skeleton. There's a reason why older stadiums can continue to be renovated and upgraded vs built new.

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2 hours ago, skiwest said:

Progressive field is one of the smallest ballparks in MLB already as far as seating capacity. Yes, they did go overboard with the number of suites, but that is not a reason to tear it down.  Wasn't Progressive Field rated as the best ballpark in MLB in a recent survey?

 

It's a shame they were in such a hurry to build the new Browns stadium.  Putting it on the site of the old stadium was a mistake IMO.  Rather that doing extensive renovations, it would probably make sense to build a new stadium with a retractable roof at another location.     

 

As far as a new tax, forget about it.  Cuyahoga County residents are paying the highest taxes in the state.  They need to get the surrounding counties to pony up some cash to finance these facilities.

They most certainly do need to get surrounding counties to pony up that cash. I'm willing to bet 2/3 of the regular attendees at the stadium don't live in Cuyahoga County, but the surrounding counties like Medina, Lorain, and Lake. And yet we Cuyahoga residents are the ones who fit the bill. Unfortunately, I doubt this anti-cooperative region would even consider a regional financing plan, especially if the stadium were to remain downtown. For example, Geauga County residents would want it in Geuaga County, Medina County residents will want it in Medina County

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Hard no on either new Browns or new Indians stadiums. Just no. The only related thing I’d consider would be a dome on the current FES. And only if the cost to increased-number-of-events ratio was reasonable. There just aren’t that many events available for a domed facility that size, so it seems like a long shot. 

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5 hours ago, Stang10 said:

Either way, Browns Stadium needs to be moved off the lake. When (If) the Browns ever put a winning football team on the field again, that current stadium is a mess to get in/out of. With only two entrances, due to the lake, trying to get 65,000 people in/out of a stadium is a complete disaster.

 

There are actually 4 entrances, plus the suite entrances.  People are just lazy and gravitate towards the SE and SW egresses.  

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3 hours ago, Stang10 said:

 If a stadium is built on the lake again, the city/Browns/county need to make it more accessible to get in/out. I'm a season ticket holder and it's ridiculous getting in/out of that place early in the season/primetime games when the hype was high for the team.

 

Go to a game at the new Sofi stadium in Inglewood next fall and let me know how traffic is for you!  

 

Since the Browns and City finally sat down and redid their traffic plan a few seasons back, the Browns actually have one of the best traffic flow systems in the league.   It involved closing down the streets entirely around the stadium, and making the traffic one-way from the GLSC around the north side of the stadium, exiting through the pit parking directly onto SR2 eastbound.  

 

And since our stadium is in the CBD and streets are closed to 100% pedestrians, most can walk to their cars in <15 minutes.   This is on par with stadiums with a sea of lots around them (ie Buffalo, KC).   And once in your car, there are multiple routes to choose from out of the city, instead of just one or two out of a sea of lots.  

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Cleburger said:

 

Go to a game at the new Sofi stadium in Inglewood next fall and let me know how traffic is for you!  

 

Actually I'm going to predict traffic for the Chargers games won't be an issue. 

 

[edit] F_ _ _ SPANOS

Edited by surfohio
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7 hours ago, mack34 said:

Ruiter is an idiot.....Progressive Field is already 35K seats might already has the lowest seating capacity in the MLB.  Plus they just renovated it.......And its location is perfect.  

Second this completely.  Ruiter is an idiot.  I wouldn't take stock in anything he says.  Nothing is going to happen with the Indians.  And FES is fine, and will be even better with investment in the waterfront line, waterfront development, and some additional renovations to the existing facility.

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Browns exec says team hopes to have 'more to share in the coming months' on future of FirstEnergy Stadium

https://www.crainscleveland.com/kevin-kleps-blog/browns-exec-says-team-hopes-have-more-share-coming-months-future-firstenergy

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