Launch Slideshow

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Big league brokering

Big league brokering

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    FEBRUARY 2008One month into construction the layout of the 150-acre Camelback Ranch – Glendale complex takes shape. Glendale Municipal Airport is at the top of this picture, just northwest of the stadium. Photos: Stanley Consultants

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    MAY 2008Concrete placement begins for major structures. A Southwest flair will eventually be reflected in stacked natural stone walls and an earthy color palette.

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    AUGUST 2008Natural turf is installed on the first of 12 practice fields. A three-acre lake is dug to separate the Los Angeles Dodgers (on the right with turf in place) and Chicago White Sox practice fields. Each team has one field that exactly mimics the dimensions of their home stadium.

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    DECEMBER 2008After 11 months all major elements are in place. With 13,000 seats, the structure on the right is the nation's largest spring training stadium. The outfield was built 12 feet belowgrade to improve sight lines.

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    JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2009One month before opening day, workers concentrate on the final details: sidewalks, painting, signs, equipment installation, and cleaning up. Five concession buildings, 4,000 parking spaces, and an orange grove flank the stadium.

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    MARCH 2009Cambelback Ranch - Glendale opens for its first preseason game March 1 with the White Sox defeating the Dodgers 3-2.

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    A manmade lake separating the two sets of practice fields is charged by the 11.2-mgd Glendale West Area Water Reclamation Facility. Used for irrigation, the lake is stocked with fish. Water is kept from seeping through the sandy desert soil with a 30-mil PVC liner covered with 12 inches of clean native soil ballast.

For years the land remained undeveloped. Then, in 2006, Glendale and Phoenix began sharing ideas and the concept of a spring training facility was born. Working in the spirit of regional cooperation, the two cities navigated myriad complexities to reach their goal. Fast-forward three years, and the collaboration of two of the state's largest cities is benefiting the entire region.

One of the issues they faced concerned income generated in and around the complex.

Because the complex is geographically in Phoenix but Glendale must provide and maintain roads, waterlines, and other infrastructure, the two cities are splitting tax revenues 80/20 Glendale/Phoenix. The agreement remains in force for 40 years or until Glendale earns $37 million, whichever comes first.

Site development was similarly complicated by the fact that the property was within the jurisdictional control of Phoenix but owned and developed by Glendale.

As owner, it would have been standard practice for Glendale to hire a developer to manage design and construction. But in an unusual move, the city assumed the role of developer. Stanley Consultants was brought in by the city to provide program management, serving as choreographer and providing day-to-day oversight of the project. The firm's project manager represented the city in all communications with the ball teams and government agencies involved in the project.

And then there was financing.

Two-thirds of base funding came from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority with Glendale responsible for the remaining balance. The city expects to meet its obligation with sales tax and other revenues from 500 acres to be developed near the complex. The progress of the development, called Main Street, stalled with the recession but is expected to break ground this year. Its potential is significant: The site is zoned and planned for homes and businesses that include a four-star hotel, restaurants, and an 18-hole golf course and premier resort.

If the initial season is any indication, the complex itself should generate enough revenue for Glendale to make its payments.

Arizona's Cactus League is comprised of 15 major league ball teams that include the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants. The league broke its single-game attendance record twice within the stadium's first five days, attracting a record high of 13,046 fans. During the 2009 training season, fans spent more than $350 million.

But the most complex aspect of the project was coordinating the needs, requirements, desires, and corresponding paperwork of the 12 government agencies that at some point “touched” the project.

“This was one of the most creative and unique partnerships in the West Valley region of Maricopa County as it involved Glendale,” says Craig Johnson, assistant city engineer and Glendale's program manager for development of the facility.

In addition to Glendale and Phoenix, the complex required input from the Salt River Project, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Stanley Consultants was involved in negotiating and coordinating the Facility Development Agreement between Phoenix, Glendale, and both ball teams; and helped with the Inter Government Agreement (IGA) between the cities as well as concept approvals, formal entitlements, and permitting of facility improvements.

Over 13 months, the project progressed from schematic design to final completion. Revit building information modeling (BIM) software was utilized throughout the project for all aspects of construction to identify, correct, or minimize potential design and field conflicts before construction began.