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Drive investing in Fluor Field, baseball in Greenville

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Greenville Drive owner Craig Brown spent this year looking over a new state-of-the-art video board, audio system and renovated 500 Club at Fluor Field in downtown Greenville.

But, that really wasn’t enough. So, after the 2016 season was complete, he and his team went to work on another $13 million worth of improvements ranging from additional seating to adding street plazas around the exterior of the field.

“We didn’t want to rest on our laurels and at some point you have to invest in the hardware and in the ball park,” Brown said. “We are bringing everything up-to-date.”

Among the improvements are:

  • Green Monster seating – The addition of 100 seats atop the Green Monster wall in left field. The Drive is also moving its front office to the second floor of the fieldhouse building behind the Green Monster with a bridge connecting the seats to the fieldhouse;
  • Champions Club – The third-base line suite is being extended to create a nearly 4,000-square-foot space that can be used anytime. The club will overlook the field;
  • Ticket Plan Holder Lounge – The current front office space will be converted to a lounge for ticket plan holders;
  • Updated team store – The team store will be reconfigured for an open floor plan. A door and exterior patio will be added for access on the Main Street Plaza;
  • Main Street and Field Street plazas – The entry points to Fluor Field will be upgraded with backlit signage and new brick pavers. New greenery and an LED marquee sign will be included on the Main Street side while the existing signage will move to Field Street;
  • Rooftop experience – Behind left field, adjacent to the fieldhouse building, will be the addition of rooftop accommodations. Up to 85 people will be able to have a view of the field and downtown Greenville. An awning for weather protection along with restrooms and food and beverage stations will be added.

Brown said adding seats on top of the Green Monster at Fluor Field brings the field ever closer to its parent – Fenway Park in Boston. John W. Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, added seats to that stadium’s Green Monster in 2003.

Another key to the construction is the addition of the Champions Club.

“Having the Champions Club, which is 4,000-square-feet of event space, allows you to have a sit-down dinner for 200 or have an event,” Brown said. “The ballpark is right under you and that is going to add an amenity to downtown that we don’t have.”

He said the rooftop experience, along with the other additions, brings elements of three iconic Major League Baseball stadiums to Greenville.

“That (rooftop experience) is going to be really neat, including the express elevator,” Brown said. “It is similar to Wrigley Field. We have the replica to Fenway Park and if you look at the unique bricks, that is like Camden Yard in Baltimore. So you have three iconic parks right in downtown Greenville.”

Financing for the additions will be split between Brown – as sole owner of the Drive – and the city. Brown said the city will account for $5 million over the next four years and he will provide the remaining $8 million.

“It is great to have the financial support, but the city’s support really validates the partnership we have and here we are making that partnership stronger,” Brown said.

Trehel Corp. is the general contractor for the Fluor Field improvements. Kansas City-based DLR is working with McMillan Pazdan Smith and Goodwyn Mills Cawood on the architecture and McLeod Landscape Architects is working on the landscaping.

The construction is expected to be complete in March 2017, just before the start of the Minor League Baseball season.

“This project is near and dear to my heart and it is fun to envision what next March and April will look like,” Brown said.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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