Blue Jays finalizing $200M-$250M renovation plans for Rogers Centre

Shi Davidi joins Tim and Friends to discuss the Blue Jays organization making potential renovations to the Rogers Centre and potential players the Blue Jays are trying to target once the lockout is over.

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are finalizing plans for a renovation of Rogers Centre likely to include a redesign of the stadium’s lower bowl, according to an industry source, a project aimed at increasing revenues while modernizing the experience at the stadium.

A shift toward a smaller-scale retrofit of the 32-year-old building, rather than the larger-scale development that would include a new stadium and sports-anchored real estate floated late last year, was made in recent months.

The trade publication VenuesNow reported that Populous was selected to design the project and PCI Construction contracted to do the work at an estimated cost of between $200 million to $250 million, although the source said nothing yet was complete or final. Populous designed the club’s recent upgrades to TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., along with the new Player Development Complex there.

Details should be wrapped up next month, with a formal unveiling to follow. Depending on the ultimate scope of the construction, it’s possible the work takes place in stages over a couple of off-seasons to avoid disrupting a season.

The shift comes after the club’s ownership at Rogers Communications Inc. (which also owns this website) had examined the type of joint stadium and property development increasingly common for sports franchises.

Planning to that end was put on hold by the pandemic, and a lobbyist registration with the City of Toronto tied to the project that included senior officials from both the Blue Jays and Rogers Communications, chair Edward Rogers among them, closed. The city has a leasehold interest in the site, while the dome itself is on Canada Lands Company property that is zoned exclusively for a stadium.

Such an endeavour would likely need years of work just to sort through the multiple layers of government with stakes in the land, and perhaps require nearly a decade to complete.

Team president Mark Shapiro has long cited some sort of stadium upgrade as the primary lever available for the club to increase revenues, which in turn would help fuel the competitive window currently opened.

The Rogers Centre in recent years has undergone incremental upgrades, the installation of a dirt infield, a new weight room and batting cages, improved sound system and the current scoreboard changeover chief among them.

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