The Rogers Centre, formerly Skydome, has been the home of the Toronto Blue Jays since 1989.
Now, according to a report from the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, Rogers Communications, which owns both the team and the stadium, wants to partner with a real-estate company called Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and demolish the retractable-dome facility and build a new park for the Jays:
Rogers and Brookfield are working with city, provincial and federal government officials on a plan that would effectively cut the Rogers Centre in half. The partners would build a new, baseball-focused stadium on the foundations of the southern end of the current facility and adjacent parking lots. The northern portion of the 12.7-acre site would be turned into residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space.
Rogers is also considering building a new stadium on a lakefront site if plans for renovating the Rogers Centre fall through.
Per the article, the project would be privately financed, though it would need certain Canadian government approvals, because:
While Rogers owns the stadium, the federal government owns the land. A spokesperson for Brookfield declined to comment Thursday on the Rogers Centre.
The project would take five to eight years to complete once approvals are given, according to the article, so the Jays would still be playing in the Rogers Centre for some time. The new park would have natural grass. The article doesn’t say whether the new ballpark would have a retractable roof, as Rogers Centre does, but given the Toronto climate, that would probably be a good idea.
When Skydome was built in 1989, it was considered cutting-edge, being the first MLB stadium with a retractable roof. But it’s also seen as “cookie-cutter,” being designed to hold events for multiple sports, similar to the “concrete ashtrays” that were built, then demolished, in places like St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Not long after Skydome opened, the “retro park” era of baseball stadium construction began with Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which opened in 1992.
Rogers Communications is the largest cable/telecom company in Canada. Rogers’ customer base would be comparable to what you’d get if you combined Comcast and AT&T in the USA (not that I’d ever want to see that happen). They can certainly afford to finance a project like this.
The most recent park to open was Globe Life Field, new home of the Rangers, which opened this year. No fans attended Rangers games there, but some attended the NLCS and World Series played in that park. Two other parks have opened since 2010: Marlins Park in Miami and Truist Park in suburban Atlanta, home of the Braves.