LOCAL NEWS

Salt Lake Bees announce move to Daybreak, plans for new stadium in 2025

Jan 17, 2023, 8:12 AM | Updated: Jan 18, 2023, 5:49 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees have announced plans to build a privately funded ballpark in the Daybreak community and leave Utah’s capital after the 2024 season.

An announcement from the team said the Bees will continue to play at Smith’s Ballpark until moving to their “new hive” in South Jordan in 2025.

“The team is grateful for the long-term legacy of baseball in Salt Lake City and for the incredible fans and surrounding community that support the team,” team officials said. “The Larry H. Miller Company is grateful for the leadership of Mayor Mendenhall and her team for engaging with us as we evaluated potential outcomes in this decision. LHM is excited about the future of Salt Lake City and will continue to partner with community leaders to enrich and reimagine the neighborhood surrounding the current stadium.”

Amy J. Hawkins, chair of the Ballpark community council, was devastated to hear that the Bees plan to leave.

“This is my neighborhood. This is my backyard. This hurts. This hurts us. This is our home,” Hawkins said. “Why would we be excited about the Bees leaving? We are the Ballpark neighborhood. That is our name. It’s just such a celebration to see all these families come to the neighborhood. Little kids wearing baseball jerseys. There are so many emotions that happen here.”

Hawkins only hopes what comes next will bring the community together in a big way.

“I hope that whoever would be considering coming to this neighborhood as a new stakeholder sees the grief on our faces and realizes the vacuum that they could fill in this neighborhood and sees that they have a neighborhood ready to embrace somebody ready to do something fantastic in this neighborhood because we want that bad,” she said.

Ethan Cisneros, owner of the drink business Thirst, which has a store one block east of the stadium, was shocked.

“It’s a key part of downtown Salt Lake City and it drives a ton of traffic to our store and brings in that family crowd,” he said.

He hopes whatever comes next will continue to be family oriented.

“It’s a little rougher part of town down here so I hope that it’s something that uplifts, it makes it clean and fun,” he said.

Details, including the new stadium’s location, renderings and surrounding amenities, will be released later this year.

The stadium will be located in South Jordan, within the master-planned Daybreak community. The team said the new ballpark will be built on undeveloped property between Mountain View Corridor and the TRAX line.

South Jordan Mayor Dawn R. Ramsey released a video statement Tuesday afternoon, welcoming the ballpark to the Daybreak community.

“There are many decisions coming as a result of this move. We’re excited to see the future of the 1,300 acres of undeveloped land in the Daybreak community,” Ramsey said. “We are fortunate in South Jordan to have two TRAX stops on the red line with another one planned. Ultimately it was a business decision by the Larry H. Miller Company to move the team to South Jordan, given that decision we will work with them to ensure the project is successful.”

The Larry H. Miller Company, which owns the team, will privately fund the stadium and the Bees’ Triple-A affiliation with the Los Angeles Angels will not change. That affiliation currently runs through 2030.

Construction on the stadium is slated to start later this year.

Some Daybreak residents were excited about a new ballpark in their community.

“I think it’s actually a pretty good idea,” said Royce Davis at a nearby TRAX station. He grew up watching the Bees and the Trappers in downtown Salt Lake City.

“Even when the Minnesota Twins owned them when I was a kid,” he said. 

He’s a big baseball fan and likes the fact that the Bees not going too far — in fact, they’re moving closer to where he lives.

“They’re still in the same valley, and they’re still in the city. So within the same metropolitan area,” he said. 

Davis said he would go to a couple of games a year and doesn’t think the Bees would have a hard time drawing a crowd in this part of the valley.

“Because this area has a lot of families,” Davis said.

The Larry H Miller Company said the new ballpark will serve as a year-round entertainment anchor for the southwest quadrant of Salt Lake County, which continues to grow rapidly.

“I think in the Daybreak area there’s not really too much to do in terms of places to go. So that probably would draw a lot more people out here,” said Seth Beerly. 

Most of the residential growth has happened within the last dozen years, and there’s a lot more building going on right now. Beerly said there are plenty of places to live, but not a lot of places to hang out. A ballpark with surrounding activities would help take care of that.

“Having a baseball park right down the street — I think that would be a big attraction,” he said. 

And bring more people to South Jordan. He also thought access to TRAX is a plus.

“A lot of people could just catch the train and walk to it,” he said. 

History Of Salt Lake Bees, Minor League Baseball In Salt Lake City

According to the Bees, more than 430,000 fans attended a game in 2022, placing the team in the Top 15 for Minor League Baseball attendance.

Smith’s Ballpark opened as Franklin Quest Field in 1994 with a seating capacity of 15,400, the largest in the PCL. It also hosts the University of Utah’s baseball team.

Smith’s Ballpark is owned by Salt Lake City and was constructed for the Bees, which returned to SLC in 1994 as the Salt Lake Buzz.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall held a press conference at Smith’s Ballpark Tuesday morning to address future plans for the site, announcing “Ballpark Next” — “a community-driven creative effort to reimagine and invest in our beloved Ballpark neighborhood.”

“As a parent and a fan, the decision by the Larry H. Miller Company to move the Salt Lake Bees to Daybreak to anchor a long-planned development there is disappointing. But as mayor, I’m confident in our city’s future and the incredible possibilities in store for this neighborhood and the 13 acres that were just unlocked,” Mendenhall said.

“Over the last 20 months, my team and I worked aggressively and creatively to change their minds about moving to Daybreak and to convince them that Smith’s Ballpark is still the best fit for the future. As disappointed as I am that we weren’t able to reverse their course, I am excited about what this move means for the Ballpark neighborhood and our city.”

Mendenhall said she wants the site to be used daily, adding the ballpark was hardly used outside of the Bees’ approximately 75 home games.

“This property will not become an empty pit or a public safety risk,” Mendenhall added. “I refuse to have this site — which has been so full of energy and history — to sit idle when it holds such tremendous opportunity. We’ve been ready to invest in this spot for three years and now that we know, we’re moving forward immediately.”

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Salt Lake Bees announce move to Daybreak, plans for new stadium in 2025