Uptown baseball stadium less likely
1:00 pm
Mon September 21, 2009

Uptown baseball stadium less likely

Hopes for a new uptown baseball stadium seem to be fading for the Charlotte Knights. WFAE's Julie Rose reports:

York County owns the land and stadium where the Charlotte Knight's have played in Fort Mill for 20 years. That lease is up this year and today was the deadline York County gave the Knights to step to the plate on a new longer-term lease.

The Knights have been reluctant to commit to anything but one year at a time, hoping instead to build a new stadium in uptown Charlotte they hope would revitalize the teams' fan base. But County Manager Jim Baker says York is tired of being a way station for the team and would only renew the Knights' lease if the team agreed to stay three or more years.

"We did get a proposal on Friday afternoon from the Knights," says Baker. "They've offered to commit to a multi-year lease and they've kind of outlined some possibilities for making some capital improvements to the stadium and the council's gonna mull that over a little bit tonight."

The Council will also consider hiring a consultant to find other uses for the 32-acre property just off I-77 in Fort Mill. Options may include selling the land to a developer, though Baker says the recession would make that tough.

Baker says the County has received one offer to purchase the land - Charlotte attorney Jerry Reese says he'll pay $5 million. Reese wants to bring a major league team to Charlotte instead. He managed to stall the Knights' uptown stadium plans with several lawsuits that were finally dismissed this year.

During those court battles, time ran out on financing the Knights had initially arranged. The price is rising quickly, too. In three years it ballooned from $35 million to a current estimate of more than $60 million.

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