Portland Diamond Project makes 2 offers for MLB stadium

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Portland Diamond Project, a group of people looking to bring Major League Baseball, announced Tuesday that they've made two formal offers on possible stadium locations. 

The offers were made to ESCO in Northwest Portland for a location adjacent to the company's headquarters, as well as Portland Public Schools for its Blanchard Education Services Center, which is less than half a mile from The Moda Center, the home of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The group said it's looking to build a 32,000 seat baseball stadium -- which would make the stadium the lowest-capacity venue in Major League Baseball. Cleveland's Progressive Field is currently the lowest, seating just over 35,000. 

Craig Cheek, a former Nike executive, released a statement regarding the proposals. 

“Our team has commissioned a comprehensive economic study of both sites, and preliminary reports indicate both possess the right mix of infrastructure and proximity to Portland’s downtown, which we believe serves us very well and is a best practice in other thriving MLB markets,” Cheek said. “Additionally, both districts have ample room for multifamily development, which can help alleviate Portland’s housing crisis. We’re planning to pave the way for 8,000 new workforce and market-rate apartments to create a vibrant, walkable community around the facility, wherever it ultimately lands.”

Portland Diamond Project is made up of former Blazers announce Mike Barrett and former Oregon State Senator Jason Atkinson. The group also said it has Kansas City's Populous Architects on retainer, who has designed more than 20 of the last MLB ballparks built. 

As for funding, Portland Diamond Project said, "The management team does not intend to ask the city or legislature to create any new programs to fund the ballpark."

The Portland Diamond Project, citing a commissioned "in depth economic study" by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL), said the urban ballpark would create 800 jobs and 4,500 permanent jobs in the city. Portland Diamond Project's commissioned report also said the stadium would generate an impact of nearly $10 billion over the 30 years.

“Over the past year we have exhaustively examined commercial properties where we can develop a ballpark for a Major League Baseball team,” Barrett said. “The social, economic and cultural impacts of having an MLB team here are overwhelmingly positive.”

Lynn Lashbrook with Must Love Baseball, a group that's been trying to bring Major League Baseball to Portland for years, told KOIN 6 News he's been working with Portland Diamond Project for the last two years.

"After 22 years I am extremely confident with this group ... it is a very exciting time," he said. 

Portland Public Schools confirmed they had two meetings with Portland Diamond Project and that an offer was made.

"The Superintendent met with Portland Diamond Project on two occasions at their request," Dave Northfield with PPS said. "They introduced the idea of bringing major league baseball to Portland.  The Superintendent listened and reiterated our core mission and priorities which focus on improving student outcomes. While PPS is not actively marketing the BESC property for sale, we did receive an unsolicited offer from Trammell Crow Company to purchase the BESC property. The school board has not yet had a group discussion about this offer."

"The BESC property is an important and valuable asset, and the Superintendent and Board of Directors take their stewardship of this and other real estate assets very seriously, District leadership has an obligation to ensure that any possible sale of property maximizes the return, in order to better serve our students and fulfill our mission."

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's office also confirmed meeting with a "potential ownership group" on Jan. 16, calling the idea of Major League Baseball in Portland "an exciting one."

“It’s easy to see why Portland would be an attractive option for Major League Baseball," Wheeler said. "We’re a growing media market with a booming economy and a rich history of local baseball. But any path that leads from today to Opening Day is a long one. My focus continues to be on addressing our city’s immediate challenges - creating more housing, helping those experiencing homelessness, and maintaining a safe livable city. It’s my belief that city resources should be directed to these priorities. We will continue to watch the Portland Diamond Project proposal as it develops.”

Other MLB stadium projects designed by Populous Architects

- Marlins Park (Miami)

- Nationals Park (Washington D.C.)

- Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore)

- Petco Park (San Diego)

- Target Stadium (Minneapolis)

- Angel Stadium (Anaheim)

- AT&T Park (San Francisco)

- Busch Stadium (St. Louis)

- Citizen's Bank Park (Philadelphia)

- Comerica Park (Detroit)

- Coors Field (Denver)

- Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati) 

- Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City)

- Minute Maid Park (Houston)

- PNC Park (Pittsburgh)

- Progressive Field (Cleveland)

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