Team to invest $800,000 for improvements and new attraction at nation's top-rated Minor League ballpark
By Michael Limmer | January 30, 2013 4:55 AM ET
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Just days after Stadium Journey magazine named Parkview Field the #1 experience in Minor League Baseball for the second year in a row, the TinCaps announced that the team will make a new $800,000 private investment in the award-winning ballpark.
The TinCaps have begun work on a new area that will further enhance the fan experience at Parkview Field. Located in centerfield, exactly 400 feet from home plate, this new area will be named the "400 Club." The project will include replacing the existing batter's eye with a 75-foot long "wall of windows" directly on top of the existing center-field wall. The windows will be part of a shaded structure that can, via five retractable overhead doors, be open-air or enclosed and climate-controlled. The area will include tiered table-top seating, a large bar, flat-screen televisions, food service and an outdoor patio. Replacing the existing fence-and-windscreen batters-eye with a wall of windows will allow the field to be seen from every angle around the ballpark concourse.
The 400 club will be the first area of its kind anywhere in Minor League Baseball, providing a unique experience for up to 150 guests. It will be available for groups of 20 or more at TinCaps games and include an all-you-can-eat food menu inclusive of draft beer and wine. The 400 Club will be the first area of Parkview Field to offer all-inclusive beer and wine. On nights that the area is not occupied by groups, individual ticket-holders will be able to watch TinCaps games from the 400 Club. Because the 400 Club is climate-controlled, it will also be an attractive function space, available for use all year round through Parkview Field's Special Events division.
One hundred percent of the funding for the $800,000 project will come from the TinCaps. This will be an additional private investment (on top of the over $7 million that has been invested to date) into the City-owned ballpark made by the team and owner, Hardball Capital.
"It would be very easy to sit back and be satisfied with Parkview Field as it is," said TinCaps President, Mike Nutter. "It has been flattering to receive awards for ballpark design, food offerings, and entertainment, but our staff doesn't work for recognition or awards. The TinCaps are focused on delivering the best possible fan experience for all fans each and every game. The 400 Club will provide a new and exciting experience at Parkview Field that will add to the overall game atmosphere."
"Obtaining such a significant investment and improvement to Parkview Field without reaching into the Ballpark Improvement Fund is a testament to how determined the TinCaps and Hardball Capital are to assuring Parkview Field remains the best Minor League Ballpark in America," stated Mayor Tom Henry. "We appreciate how committed the team is to providing this community with the best ballpark experience anywhere."
The 400 Club will be designed and built by local Fort Wayne companies. Design Collaborative is serving as the lead architect and Weigand Construction as the general contractor. Populous (formerly HOK Sport, Venue and Event), the original lead architect for Parkview Field, has also served in a consulting role on the design of 400 Club.
Construction will begin in the coming weeks and completion is estimated in mid-May. The TinCaps started taking reservations from groups interested in experiencing the 400 Club today and anticipate that it will immediately be one of the most popular areas at Parkview Field.
"We were routinely selling out our options for groups of 20 or more, so we needed an additional area to meet the high demand," said Brad Shank, TinCaps Vice President of Ticket Sales. "We continue to have tremendous interest from groups seeking outings with food service. The 400 Club will not only be an amazing ballpark experience, but it fills a void for those groups of 20-50 people that want an all-you-can-eat menu. Larger groups can also take advantage of the space since the 400 club will accommodate up to 150 fans."
For more information about Parkview Field's newest area, the 400 Club, contact the team by phone at (260) 482-6400, stop by the TinCaps Administrative Offices at Parkview Field, or log on to TinCaps.com.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps play their first Midwest League home game on Thursday, April 11th at 7:05pm. The game will feature an Opening Day celebration including post-game fireworks and the traditional Thirsty Thursday drink specials. Tickets for Opening Day and the remainder of the TinCaps 2013 season schedule go on-sale Saturday, February 16th.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.