Cleveland just saw one of its professional sports teams change its name.
Now, another of the City teams may soon see a change.
Reports indicate that the Cleveland Browns are looking for sites for a new stadium in downtown.
.@Browns leaning towards the new stadium
Haslams is considering two stadium siteshttps://t.co/bMU3xmKtXU@CityofCleveland @nfl @SportsBoyTony @KenCarman @DowntownCLE @GCPartnership @The key @happyincle @TeamNEO @CleDevAdvisors @dtCLEresidents @NOhioNAIOP @ClevelandULI pic.twitter.com/NVjtaxFWhZ
— NEOtrans Blog (@NeotransB) June 18, 2022
Why a new stadium?
First Energy Stadium has stood on the lake since 1999, when the Browns returned to the NFL.
It’s not young, but not old either in terms of the age of stadiums around the league.
20 teams have newer stadiums than the Browns.
According to neo-trans.blog sources, Jimmy and Dee Haslam are looking to upgrade.
“The sources said that the Haslams are not happy with the state of the existing stadium and its poor ageing,” the neo-trans.blogdescribed article. “Furthermore, the sources claim that the stadium was poorly constructed and that the expense to rebuild it and add a roof to it is approaching the cost of a new stadium.”
Back in December 2020, The Cleveland City Council unanimously approved the decision to allocate $12 million to the stadium for repairs.
These fixes included plumbing, electrical work and new pedestrian ramps.
Recommendations for these repairs came from a capital repair audit.
In that report, First Energy Stadium was described as being “in good condition, considering its age and harsh climate”.
So either this report gave the facility the benefit of the doubt, or the Haslams have been in rapid structural decline over the past two years.
Either way, if Jimmy and Dee want a new stadium, you better believe they’ll push hard for it.
There are a few things to sort out before Haslams commit to a stadium project.
With the stadium’s current lease in place until 2028, it’s time for those things to happen.
The first is the construction of a land bridge to cross the railway tracks by the lake.
The cost is estimated at $200 million.
The bridge would connect key parts of downtown like the public plaza and the convention center.
Additionally, its square design would house a transportation hub in the middle as well as parking.
The other big project that should be done involves major changes along the Shoreway.
The plan is to convert it into a boulevard that connects the city center and the lakeside.
Ideally, it would become an area for more pedestrians and pedestrians.
This has the support of Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibbamong other supporters.
However, this would greatly slow down traffic to the central business district.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has its concerns and will conduct a study to see if this is beneficial or not.
A fictional graphic of the project is shown below.
Potential new sites
So where exactly would a new stadium go?
A potential new site is where the main post office is currently located on Orange Avenue.
It is a 565,000 square foot facility that sits adjacent to 48 acres of vacant land owned by ODOT.
You’d be hard pressed to find more open space than the one near downtown.
The other proposal is for a stadium just east of the downtown central business district.
Sources of neo-trans.blog let’s say it would be north of St. Clair and between E 13e and E 17e.
Obviously foot and foot traffic would have priority here as this area is right in the center of town.
However, this could open up opportunities for housing and hotel development.
Another fictional chart can be found illustrated below.
Fans are not yet thrilled with the idea of a new stadium.
A lot of questions if the current facility is really in bad enough condition to justify building a new one.
First Energy Stadium is not even 25 years old. I don’t understand the craze for building a new one. #Brunettes
— BIGPLAY Blake (@BIGPLAYBlake) June 19, 2022
Again, the current stadium lease runs until 2028.
There will be no immediate action on this.
However, it is definitely something worth watching moving forward.