A $22 million proposal for major renovations to Lansing’s Cooley Law School Stadium calls for a near-complete overhaul of the 19-year-old ballpark that would include addition of a four-story apartment complex adjacent to the outfield.
The cost of the project, which still needs the Lansing City Council’s approval, would be split between the city/taxpayers, the team, and private developers. Supporters hope the plan is approved by May 1 so construction can begin immediately after the season ends. The aim is to complete the project by Opening Day 2016.
There would be 80-100 units included in the apartment complex, with half of them facing the baseball diamond. The adjoining retail space would include a restaurant open year-round.
The stadium’s overhaul would include new turf, dugouts, locker rooms, concession stands and restrooms. The ballpark also would get a new scoreboard in left field; the current one is in center field. Lawn seating would be eliminated, including the area where I watched MiLB.com’s Benjamin Hill (of Ben’s Biz Blog fame) snag a home run ball hit by Fort Wayne TinCaps OF Alberth Martinez and flip it to a kid, ala “Mean” Joe Greene in this famous “Have a Coke and a Smile” commercial that aired during the 1980 Super Bowl.
In addition to lawn seating being eliminated, the project would replace some bench seating with box seats.
Here is an overview shot of Cooley Law School Stadium I took in 2011:
After reading articles about the proposal and looking at renderings of the project, I think the renovations likely would propel the ballpark into the top tier of Midwest League facilities, alongside Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field, Dayton’s Fifth Third Field, West Michigan’s Fifth Third Ballpark, and Great Lakes’ Dow Diamond. In fact, the proposal for apartments overlooking the field reminds me of the apartment complex that overlooks Parkview Field (as seen in the photo below).
Lansing’s stadium opened as Oldsmobile Park in 1996. You can see more renderings of the proposed renovation project here on the team’s website.