Lookouts' team owners discussing new stadium
The Chattanooga Lookouts are shopping around for a new home.
We're told it's something the team has been considering for a while now. Local owner Marshall Brock says they are having conversations with landowners, specifically with the former 141-acre former Wheland and U.S. Pipe properties off of South Broad Street.
The goal isn't to leave Chattanooga of course, but to find somewhere in town to build a newer and bigger stadium. Brock says the problem with the current stadium is that it's just outdated. He says parking, handicap accessibility and being limited to only ball games are some other challenges.
“With this structure, it would be more difficult than trying to move somewhere else.”
But Brock says the Lookouts aren't the only ones hoping to find the team a new home.
“If River City didn’t have an appetite for the property then this would not be nearly as interesting a conversation, but the fact that the landowner is as much of a driver of this conversation as we are is what helps move this thing along,” said Brock.
A new Broad Street District Plan suggests the 141-acre property transform into a multi-use sports and entertainment facility. We’re told the property owners are now trying to get the attention of potential buyers.
“I think the same atmosphere can exist from here all the way to the front of Lookout and that it will be an improved situation,” said Brock.
But if the Lookouts end up there, what happens to the nearly 20-year-old AT&T Field stadium?
“It is in the contract that the stadium would be razed or demolished and that land would be given back to river city basically in the state it was found for us to then go out and find a new development for it,” River City Company Director of Marketing and Communications, Amy Donahue. We want to be a good partner and help in the ways that we can, but again really the crucial piece of what happens there is of course up to the owners.”
In the end, Brock says he looks forward to building a new future for the team.
“We would have no interest in burdening the city with something they can’t handle because that won’t work long-term for the stadium and we plan to be here for as long as we can,” said Brock.
It's not clear when a decision will be made. The owners of the foundry property plan to host site visits over the summer for potential buyers. When it comes to funding a new Lookouts stadium, the team's owners say they would essentially be footing the bill. But it could call for some city funding, which would be up to city officials to decide where that money would come from.