DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit is outlining a new vision for the former site of Tiger Stadium that would include a youth baseball field along with a mix of stores, residential space and offices at the historic corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull.
A request for proposals, issued by the city’s Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, says the nonprofit youth sports organization Detroit PAL would build a new headquarters along Cochrane Street, and maintain much of the former Detroit Tigers’ field for youth baseball.
George Jackson, President and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corp., told WWJ Newsradio 950 earlier this month that the city wants to create a mixed-used development on a portion of the 9.5 acre site.
“What we need is density in that community,” he said. “Corktown is a very hot community and they need housing and they need retail. So, we want to do that and have a play field for kids.”
Organizers would try to preserve as much of the original field as possible, but Jackson said the site needs businesses and living space to really make a difference in the city.
“I would love to have a baseball field there but, obviously, it cannot be a duplication of the size of the original field. We have to make this work so the full community, not just a select group, can benefit,” he said. “We want something on that site that will always be active, 12 months a year, seven days a week. Not something that’s going to be dark for a lot of the year, which would happen if it was just a baseball field.”
The plan includes two zones for development that would enhance the surrounding Corktown neighborhood — one along Michigan Avenue and the other along Trumbull Street. A third development zone, along Kaline Drive, is being reserved for future development.
The deadline to submit proposals is May 23 and the city anticipates making a selection of a development team by late August. The development deal is expected to pump “a ton of money” into the city’s economy.
“We don’t have the dollar figures until we see the proposals, but we do know that there’s a hell of a lot of interest,” Jackson said. “We’re ready to go.”
Tiger Stadium opened in 1912 as Navin Field. The Tigers left the stadium for Comerica Park after the 1999 season.
Much of the stadium was torn down in 2008, but a section extending roughly from dugout to dugout was left standing while the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy sought to put together financing to redevelop the partially destroyed ballpark. The city eventually rejected the conservancy’s plan, and the last portion of the stadium was demolished in 2009.