12 Design Features Not to Miss on First Tennessee Park Opening Day

April 10, 2015

First Tennessee Park will open in just one short week. The new minor league ballpark for the Nashville Sounds, the 365-day-a-year complex is inspired by the rich heritage of music and baseball in Nashville and a new era for the city, capitalizing on downtown’s energy. From the design team’s perspective, here are 12, of the many features, we hope you enjoy on opening day, April 17th:

  1. Outfield Seating
    The new ballpark truly has space for every fan looking for every experience. We thought about all the different types of people who will come to the ballpark and created an experience for each of them. In the outfield alone, between the foul poles, there are 10 different seating types ranging from bistro seating, a grassy berm, bar seating, drink rails, picnic tables and more.
  2. A Unique Façade
    The ballpark will be the first to feature Taktl, a unique precast concrete product that is more sustainable than alternative materials commonly used in ballpark design.
  3. Offerings for the Millennial Fan
    The design aimed to create various seating types, including The Pit which is targeted to the Millennial crowd and can accommodate up to 150 people.  The Pit will include plenty of social space, local food and beverage offerings and a unique vantage point at field level – speaking to the latest design trends for twenty and thirty somethings.
  4. Outdoor Space
    The ballpark includes more than 25,000 square feet of grass picnic areas and green open space that can be used for pre-game party functions, tailgating, tents and game day and non-game day events.
  5. Design Details
    An iconic 30’ tall by 20’ wide reclaimed wood wall in the entry lobby provides visual interest and plays off the city’s heritage and history with baseball. The material was donated by a local company, further connecting the space to Nashville through material usage.
  6. Year Round Usage
    First Tennessee Park will be very much the city’s park – creating a seamless transition from the outfield to Nashville’s growing network of greenways. In addition, the outfield seating areas and concourse are designed to be social, accessible spaces 365-days-a-year.  This space includes a bar, green space and social seating opportunities.
  7. History of the Site
    The Sulphur Dell site is one of the oldest in the history of ballparks. It dates back to 1870 when Nashvillians played baseball in Sulphur Springs Ballpark which later became Athletic Park. It’s a site that means something to the city, the state and the sport, and First Tennessee Park is the next iteration of baseball on the site.
  8. Home Plate Suites
    First Tennessee Park will be one of the first minor league ballparks to include home plate suites – and the largest to date. The most premium space directly behind home plate will give fans a vantage point and experience that is memorable. To give you an idea of just how close to the field these seats are, just 50 feet away, fans will actually be closer to the catcher than the pitcher is to the catcher.
  9. That Scoreboard…
    Everyone has been buzzing about the scoreboard since it was unveiled. The most iconic scoreboard in all of Minor League Baseball, it’s shaped like a guitar and measures 142 feet long by 55 feet high. More than 860 32” wide screen televisions could fit within the scoreboard.
  10. Music City
    Nashville is Music City and that influence is clear throughout the design. Beyond the scoreboard, the zinc metal panel façade is reflective of the musical history of the city with the abstract use of motion and color while also responding to its civic context. Musical themed suites capture that culture and wood integrated throughout harkens back to the guitar and musical heritage.
  11. Sustainable Features
    The ballpark, which is pursuing LEED Silver, will be a textbook example of the use of innovative design to create a sustainable space for a city. A green roof, rainwater harvesting, a rain garden, as well as public open space and numerous transit options for fans, make the ballpark experience a sustainable one.
  12. Connectivity to the Urban Fabric
    But perhaps the ballpark’s most interesting asset is its connectivity to Nashville’s downtown and the site as an anchor for mixed-use and residential development that will create a thriving district North of the city. The ballpark will do for this district what Bridgestone Arena did for Broadway. This potential impact drove our approach, seeing opportunities to be open and connected to the district coming up around the ballpark, and in turn, being good neighbors. Five years from now, I’m looking forward to seeing how the area evolves and the catalytic development that will surround the ballpark.

If you make it out to Nashville this season, enjoy these features and many more. Feel free to tweet questions about the ballpark design and your favorite features or photos to us @Populous using #FTPDesign.


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