October 4, 2023

Smokies baseball stadium developers scale back as construction costs soar

A Sports Authority meeting on Tuesday did not result in a new price tag for…

  • A Sports Authority meeting on Tuesday did not result in a new price tag for the Smokies stadium in the Old City.
  • As material costs soar, developers will scale back the project, still planned to wrap up by the 2025 season.
  • Dirt could begin moving as early as next week before developers get a guaranteed maximum price for the project,
  • One major change is the removal of second-floor space for team offices, now planned for a nearby condo building.

The Smokies stadium will be scaled back as developers grapple with unpredictability in material and labor costs, but the project in Knoxville’s Old City is still planned to wrap up in time for the 2025 season. 

Tennessee Smokies CEO Doug Kirchhofer said at Tuesday morning’s Sports Authority Board meeting that an updated cost could be available in the late fall.

Knoxville and Knox County have pledged to pay up to $65 million, and the state has kicked in $13.5 million. Smokies owner Randy Boyd has committed $5.8 million to construction and cost overruns, and promised to bring in $142 million in private money to build 630,000 square feet of restaurants, retail and residences around the stadium. All these commitments were made before the projected costs soared this year.

“Uncertainty over prices and uncertainty over details of construction and plans are a bad combination when it comes to accurate bidding and accurate pricing,” Kirchhofer said. 

For now, the design team has a final plan and is working to produce construction documents that will reflect the changes and help determine a new cost. Current site work will continue during the process. Water and sewer line relocations are underway.