Cleveland Guardians news: With new renovations, Progressive Field will continue to be a baseball cathedral

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Guardians
Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

In case you missed the news last week, the Cleveland Guardians finally released the renderings of the next slate of renovations to Progressive Field. These plans have been in the works for roughly a year and a half, but now there are finally some conceptual ideas out there, and boy do they look great!

Before we proceed, let's remember these are just renderings and the final product may look a bit different. Remember the shipping container fiasco following the last renovation? Yeah, I know you do.

Progressive Field is the eleventh-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball and the team recently agreed to a lease extension which will keep them at Progressive Field until at least 2036, with the potential for ten additional years all the way to 2046. These updates will ensure that Progressive Field doesn't end up looking like the Oakland Coliseum, which appears more and more likely to be tenantless as the A's look east to Las Vegas.

With that out of the way, let's see exactly what is to come to our beloved ballpark. There are really six areas that will be overhauled by this project: the reimagined upper deck, a new East 9th building, the Terrace Club, the Dugout Club, clubhouse & service level, and finally the front office. This project is expected to cost $202.5 million, with $67.5 million of it coming from the Guardians.

It should be noted that some sections of seats will be removed to make way for standing room and gathering spaces. Conversely, there will be sections that should see seats added back, namely the upper deck first-base line where some of the shipping containers currently reside. Overall, the capacity is expected to remain around 35,000. It's been reported that all seats will be replaced over the next few years as well.

If you're a fan of social spaces (this is a fast-growing trend in all sports venues) like the Corner Bar or the drink rails, then the reimagined upper deck is going to be your spot. Along the left field terrace will be a new beer garden with ample seating. Replacing the shipping containers in right field will be a new terrace meant to host large groups, and along the concourse behind home plate will be new grab-and-go concession spaces, and two new view-box bars on each side of home plate.

The new East 9th building will provide additional room for the right-field terrace space, while also allowing for the clubhouse expansion. By building this four-level building, it will allow for the club to move their current kitchen by providing a new kitchen and commissary for the concession stands. The building will also act as additional storage facilities for the ballpark.

The Terrace Club (now dubbed the Terrace Hub) will be reimagined but should keep that distinctive stacked terrace look down the left-field line. The large glass windows will be removed and open-air ticketed seating will remain on the 200 and 300 levels. This area will also include an indoor private club space. On the 400 level will be a new beer hall with local food and beverage options, and will be open to all ticketed fans.

The Dugout Club, which back in 1994 was way ahead of the curve, is set to see some big changes. It will have a capacity of 300 and is set to combine premium seating along with a new exclusive lounge behind home plate. The Club will be reimagined to also feature private lounges to allow groups to enjoy an exclusive experience.

Little details were provided on the clubhouses and service level, but they too will also be updated. Former Pirates GM and now current Special Assistant of Baseball Projects Neal Huntington has spearheaded the transformation of the clubhouse space. Along with this move, the clubhouse is said to have a greater emphasis on player amenities in performance, training, and recovery. Expanded strength/conditioning and training areas, as well as improved nutrition and kitchen facilities, are part of this phase in the improvements to Progressive Field.

The administrative/front office will also see a full renovation for the first time since the ballpark opened. As part of the renovation, a fifth floor will be added to the existing four-level structure.

Team officials have said that construction is slated to start at the end of the 2023 season. The upper deck amenities and the East 9th Street building are expected to be completed by Opening Day 2024. The remaining renovations (the Terrace Hub, Dugout Club, clubhouses, service level, and font offices) are expected to be ready in time for Opening Day of 2025.

It appears that the New Era store, beyond the center field gates, may meet its demise. As a hat aficionado, this development would be a bummer. But it has been speculated that area may be converted to a gambling area. The Guardians did just partner with bet365, though MLB rules prohibit physical windows or kiosks inside stadiums.

Another noticeable omission to the current plans is a team museum. But similar to a gambling area that may be a part of future development around the stadium, and just you wait, because there will be some of that as well.

More construction will be coming to the Gateway District, it's just a matter of when. Dan Gilbert's Bedrock just purchased over three acres north of the arena. In the past, that land was the proposed site of a mixed-use building with office, hotel, and entertainment space. If Bedrock decides to pursue something similar, and if it includes a garage, that may lead to the demolition of a portion of the Gateway garage. The domino effect could lead to redevelopment of this land into a much-hypothesized "ballpark village."

The Guardians also purchased half an acre of land just east of the garage as well for future development. Years ago, another parcel of land, south of the cemetery on 9th Street, was considered for another "ballpark village" development.

These projects are exciting to see come along and Guardians fans should be excited by this news. The alternative is that the city and state pony up somewhere around $1 billion to build a new stadium or risk losing the team to some city willing to do just that. Here's to seeing Progressive Field see another 30 years and beyond.