As you may know, we had a writer, Michael Daalder, in West Palm Beach for the opening of camp, and it was closed to the public which gave us little editorial content this week. We asked Michael to snap some photos of the complex. The 160 acre site should soon be considered the finest complex in the entire Grapefruit League, and probably will exceed the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex in Scottsdale, Arizona which houses the Diamondbacks and Rockies as the best in the Major Leagues. The architectural firm of HKS designed both Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and The Ballpark Of The Palm Beaches led by Mo Stein.
“This is real economic development, and there’s additional redevelopment planned in the area,” Stein said. “To me, the whole purpose of architecture isn’t just to do buildings – it’s to create a great experience.”
A great experience is what you want when you drive onto 5400 Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach. Fred Ortiz was side-by-side with Stein on his team as his Principal Designer and making sure no detail was missed including the layout of even the parking lots as Ortiz wanted “a plan that allows the most experiential layout possible” and said that “in most spring-training facilities, you have parking on the sides and training fields to the rear. That creates a sense of disengagement.” When the finished product is seen in the coming weeks, hopefully visitors can appreciate Stein’s and Ortiz’s vision and unanimously agree that the experience was great!
“We went through an intense research process on South Florida, its architecture, when we began design,” Ortiz said. “We ended up with a design that plays up the notion of shading, the feel of old golf resorts with undulating landscapes, and plantings at different scales. The combination just jelled for us. We were working under a tight construction budget, but our ultimate goal was to make it feel as if it belongs.”
Additions were made to the original plan like the exercise pool and other amenities which pushed the budget to where the Nationals had to come out-of-pocket for the changes. This West Palm Beach complex will be home to the Washington Nationals for decades, and some of the upgrades will be part of what Ted Lerner wanted to have for the next generation of Nationals. A state-of-the-art facility that is second to none.
“Florida has a rich baseball history,” Stein said. “We want fans to feel like they are part of the baseball experience, that it was meant for them. I really believe that this community, which we love, with all of the great amenities, having a ballpark with the ( 34,000 square foot) plaza and a place to do phenomenal events will bring the community together.”
Today is the day for position players to check-in. Bryce Harper arrived to West Palm Beach in the early evening and headed straight over to the complex and took some interior pictures. Time to get at it boys! #Family