Talks of a new stadium for the Tides began during the 1990 season. Several sites were discussed, and the area known as "Bessie's Place" in downtown Norfolk was selected because baseball in downtown areas had been a success in numerous cities nationwide. Ground was broken in February of 1992 and work began shortly after.
The architectural firm chosen to design the crown jewel on the Norfolk waterfront was HOK Sport Facilities Group of Kansas City, MO. HOK Sports Facilities Group has also designed some of the finest major league parks, such as U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, and PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Most recently, they have designed Comerica Park in Detroit, PETCO Park in San Diego, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Citi Field in New York and the new Yankee Stadium.
The design team, led by Earl Santee, elected to create a nautical image with shipyard crane-like light towers and arrays of colorful flags. However, it also had to fit into the downtown business scene, and the brick exterior of the stadium was selected for just that purpose.
Harbor Park features almost 9,000 lower deck seats, 2,800 upper deck seats, and 400 seats in 24 luxury skyboxes leased to area corporations. The park also features a 225-seat restaurant known as "Hits at the Park" which offers a full view of the playing field. Overlooking left field is a 300-person tiered picnic area. Total capacity for Harbor Park is 12,067. The playing surface is Natural Grass, and the dimensions are 333 ft. in LF, 410 ft. in CF, and 318 ft in RF.
Two state-of-the-art high-resolution LED scoreboards were installed in right field prior to the 2006 season. Prior to the 2009 season, a party deck was built down the right field line that moved the distance from home plate to the right field foul pole from 338 feet to 318 feet.
The facility is owned by the City of Norfolk and the Tides have a 20-year lease. Its construction was financed by rent paid by the Tides and other revenue from non-baseball events held in the facility. The total cost of construction for the stadium exceeded $16 million. Harbor Park was selected by Baseball America as the finest minor league facility in the land in 1995.
Harbor Park Facts
150 Park Ave.
Norfolk, VA 23510
April 14, 1993
LF: 333 CF: 410 RF: 318