Colorado Rockies Agree To Stay In Coors Field and Develop Empty Lot At 20th and Wazee.

Admittedly, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Colorado Rockies weren’t looking to leave Denver, and none of Denver’s suburbs were courting them. The Aurora Rockies were never suggested. None the less, the Colorado Rockies will continue to call Coors Field home.

The original lease agreement, signed when the stadium first opened in 1995, was for 22 years. If lease negotiations failed, there would have been a five-year extension anyway. What is significant about this is that Coors field is already older than half of the stadiums in baseball and is the third oldest stadium in the National League. Both Atlanta and Dallas have agreed to new stadium deals, neither of which are in Atlanta or Dallas.  Atlanta is leaving downtown for the outlying neighborhood of Cumberland, and the Texas Rangers have been in Arlington, a suburb between Fort Worth and Dallas, and will be staying there.  Both of the stadiums were around the same age as Denver’s Coors Field, the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field was actually a year newer.

Instead, The Rockies have signed a new $200 million 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District which will keep them in Coors field through 2047.  Part of the lease agreement will allow the Rockies to develop the empty block surrounded by 19th, 20th, and Wazee.  The side of the block on Wynkoop Street is currently a pedestrian-only plaza and is planned to be part of Denver’s proposed pedestrian greenway. No specific plans have been put forth yet, but current zoning allows for a mixed-use structure of up to 8 stories. Of the $200 lease agreement of Coors Field, the Rockies paid $125 million to lease the soon-to-be-developed block for 99 years.  This block has been empty since Denver was founded.  Originally part of the Union Pacific railyards in the area, the block was turned into parking lots when the rail lines were torn out, and it wasn’t developed when Coors Field was built.

 

Original Block Use
Looking East on the block, sometime before 1952.  Image Credit: Sanborn Maps, Denver Public Library

 

Given that Coors Field was instrumental in redeveloping the area when it first opened in 1995, it seems fitting that they will be staying and continuing to develop the area, even if the Rockies weren’t going to go anywhere anyway.  Then again, neither were the Atlanta Braves.

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