Monday, August 3, 2009

Ballpark design and historic preservation

I am watching the Braves play at San Diego, and for the first time I noticed the Western Metal Supply Company building that is part of San Diego's stadium. The building is an early 1900s building that was incorporated into the design of the park.

Apparently the building was originally slated to be demolished, when it was declared a historic landmark. The building was incorporated into the design of the park:
The building is incorporated into the ballpark, with the left-field foul pole attached to its southeastern corner. It houses The Majestic Padres Team Store; a souvenir shop; on the ground level, party suites on the second and third floors, a public restaurant on the fourth floor, and seating areas and bleachers on the rooftop.
Pretty cool adaptive reuse. Not that there was anything of note worth saving when Atlanta built the Ted, but I find the contrast interesting. I'm pretty sure that a lot of neighborhood buildings were demolished for Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, but I think even then the area was pretty bombed out. If I recall correctly, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was supposed to revitalize the area. Oops.

One city works to incorporate a ball park INTO the city, while another caters to suburbanites and their car dependencies. San Diego's stadium appears to have some surface parking surrounding it, but also a decent amount of other structures surrounding it. Atlanta, of course, has a sea of surface parking and deserted lots.

Also very cool: I recently saw a friend who has moved to San Diego. He was wearing a pretty awesome retro Padres Hat:


  1. Very interesting to see the difference in the areas surrounding the San Diego and Atlanta stadiums. I looked at the streets surrounding the SD one and they actually look very nice, clean, and tempting to walk down. Amazing.

    I haven't spent much time near Turner field, but I do regularly walk around near Philips Arena and I wish that area was more attractive. Certainly the part due north and NW (Centennial Olympic Park and the Luckie/Marietta restaurants) are nice, but otherwise there's the gulch and the wasteland of parking decks and little, ugly surface lots. As you say, it shows all the marks of being designed to cater to car dependency -- a spot that people drive to so they can visit the attraction of choice then quickly return to their cars and drive many mile back to home.

  2. I was just in Montgomery, and they've done a great job of incorporating an old train depot and active train tracks with the rest of downtown. Go see the Biscuits play on a Thirsty Thursday -- $2 beers.

    The area around Turner Field is just depressing. Have there ever been any plans to, say, build a parking deck per lot and fill in the rest with streets, retail, and residents? It's all I can think about when I drive through.

  3. There have been some conceptual plans, and even a TAD.

  4. There is a plan for Fulton Square, a mixed use development North of Turner Field on Fulton Street. It is supposed to start building this year, but I'm sure that's not going according to plan.

    Darin, have you heard of the Green Line Plan, a large scale redevelopment of the gulch?

  5. Thanks for the link, Paul -- I hadn't seen that Green Line plan before. It looks great. I like this quote from the linked web site, saying that it: "Stitches the city together through public space, transit and daily life." That vast sea of parking divides so much of the downtown area. It could use some stitching.


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