Bakersfield will get new baseball stadium

The Bakersfield Blaze will get a new, state-of-the-art ball park, team owners will announce Friday. The new 3,500-seat stadium will be part of the upscale Commons development at Coffee and Brimhall roads and is expected to open in 2014.
Bakersfield's professional baseball team finally will get a new stadium. The team's owners will announce today a state-of-the-art, center-of-town ball park with 3,500 seats plus luxury suites, picnic grounds. and special event grounds.

The new Bakersfield Blaze stadium will be part of The Commons, a yet-to-be-built high-end 255-acre complex of stores, restaurants and movie theaters at Coffee and Brimhall roads. The new stadium will replace 71-year-old Sam Lynn Ball Park on Chester Avenue.

Construction of the new 15-acre ball park complex will begin early next year and umps should shout "play ball" in Spring 2014. In connection with the stadium, developers of The Commons will hurry up construction of that project, with construction now set for the beginning of 2014.

The stadium will be at the north end of the development.

The venue will be a year-round entertainment site as well as a sports complex, according to a news release issued just after midnight Friday morning. It will be home to the Blaze, college baseball, soccer, and concerts.

Developers say the ball park and the Commons are "where northwest and southwest Bakersfield come together" and will be easily accessible by the new Westside Parkway – the now-under-construction east-west freeway.

The ball park is the work of new Blaze owners Gene Voiland and Chad Hathaway, who bought the team last year.

"Bakersfield Commons is a spectacular location for the new ballpark, which we intend to be the finest Class-A ballpark in the country," Voiland said in the news release. "By connecting a new state-of-the-art stadium to a unique retail district, we are creating a family destination that will be extremely attractive for everyone in Bakersfield."

Also from the news release:

The retail portion of the development will feature an inviting "Main Street" that links to the ballpark. The walkable area will include a mix of retail stores, restaurants, and a modern multiplex cinema with stadium seating. The architecture and design, in addition to the fountains, benches, and landscaped sidewalks, will encourage visitors to take their time and enjoy the shopping, dining, and ballpark experiences.

The 255-acre Bakersfield Commons property is owned by Coffee-Brimhall LLC, whose principals include brothers Robert and Steve Roth.

"Bakersfield Commons and the Bakersfield Blaze have created a tremendous partnership, and we are extremely excited to move forward with this plan that can have such a positive impact on the City of Bakersfield," said Steve Roth.

"Bakersfield Commons has the potential to be a transformative project for Bakersfield," according to Robert Roth. "The Blaze stadium is the perfect catalyst to get this started. I can't wait to be there for the first pitch, and for the opening of this welcoming retail district," he added.

Blaze Manager Ken Griffey, Sr. believes the new stadium will have a positive impact on the team. "I can't tell you how valuable it will be to play in a facility that offers the best experience possible for our players and fans," he said. "Filling the seats with excited Blaze fans will mean a lot to the team. This new stadium will create a lot of pride for everyone in Bakersfield."

Season tickets for the 2013 Blaze season – set to be played at venerable Sam Lynn Ballpark – are on sale now.

Current ticket holders will receive priority on seats at the team's future home.

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