Spring is in the air for two firms selected to construct a new spring training and western headquarters facility for the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team in Mesa, Ariz. Populous, Kansas City, Mo., beat out nine competing firms to win the design contract, while Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., bested eight others for the general contractor job.

Image courtesy City of Mesa
Conceptual drawings show possible layouts for the Cubs' new spring home.
Image courtesy City of Mesa
The new spring training venue pictured here in a concept drawing will replace the Cubs' existing facility in Mesa, Hohokam Park.

The project will be built as a construction manager-at-risk project. “It’s a complex project, and we want a contractor sitting at the table with us during design, giving us ideas on cost and how to keep the project under budget and on schedule,” says Beth Huning, city engineer.

Design and construction of the 15,000-seat stadium and supporting buildings is estimated at $84 million, with funding provided by the city. Any additional costs would be covered by the team. An additional $15 million will be spent by the city on roadways, utilities and parking.

Mesa voters approved the project in November 2010 by a wide margin. The team has practiced in Mesa for more than 45 years. With the expanding popularity of Arizona’s Cactus League, the Cubs felt that Hohokam Park was no longer adequate. The new facility will keep the team in Arizona for at least the next 30 years.

The stadium complex will include four to six full-size baseball practice fields, an approximately 50,000-sq-ft clubhouse, various partial practice fields, covered batting tunnels and other structures.

A construction start date has not been set, but a fall 2013 completion date is anticipated, with training beginning in spring 2014.

Formerly HOK Sport, Populous has constructed 22 other major league baseball spring training complexes, including the recently completed Goodyear Spring Training Complex and Peoria Sports Complex, both in Arizona. Several locally based firms will assist with the design, including DWL Architects, EPS Group Inc. and Saemisch DiBella Architects.

“It’s a large community project so we are interested in involving our local construction and consulting community,” Huning says.

As part of its proposal, Hunt submitted a local business participation plan that will use targeted events, trade fairs and one-on-one counseling to guide smaller local subcontractors on how to do business on the project, says Ross Renner, project manager for the City of Mesa.

Hunt has built numerous sporting venues, including the University of Phoenix Stadium and Chase Field in Arizona.

As part of the pending agreement, the Cubs have the option to develop a commercial and entertainment district, dubbed ’Wrigleyville West,’ within the project.