TODAY: In response to the Globe & Mail’s story, Rogers Communications spokesperson Andrew Garas released a statement to media: “Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and keeping our employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time.”
Andrew Tumilty, a spokesperson for Waterfront Toronto, also told The Canadian Press that Willis’ piece “was the first Waterfront Toronto has heard of the Quayside site as a potential new home for the Blue Jays,” in reference to the team’s apparent Plan B if building a new ballpark on the current Rogers Centre site isn’t feasible.
NOVEMBER 27: Rogers Centre has been the Blue Jays’ home stadium since 1989, but that might not be the case for much longer. Blue Jays ownership is hoping to knock down Rogers Centre and put up a new multibillion-dollar facility in its place, Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail reports.
As you’d expect with such a grand plan, there are potential roadblocks in the way. For one, Rogers Communications Inc. – which owns the Blue Jays – does not own the land on which the ballpark sits. That belongs to Canada Lands Company. Secondly, the Blue Jays would need the Canadian federal government to sign off in order to move forward with this project, which Willis writes could take five to eight years to complete if approved. Jays ownership, government officials and the real estate arm of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. plan to go public with the project in 2021, though, according to Willis. Those two companies would fund the stadium, whereas Rogers Centre was built largely on taxpayer money.
A replacement stadium for the Blue Jays would occupy some of the same land as the Rogers Centre. The rest would be dedicated to “residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space” as part of a redevelopment plan for Toronto, per Willis. If that plan collapses, though, the Blue Jays could seek a new lakefront stadium instead. Any new facility would feature natural grass, not the artificial turf the Blue Jays play on now, though it’s unclear whether it would include a retractable roof – the most recognizable aspect of Rogers Centre.
In the event the proposal to build a new stadium on the Rogers Centre site succeeds, it’s unclear where the Blue Jays would play their home games in the interim. Nearby Buffalo, N.Y., hosted the Blue Jays in 2020 because of travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is no word on whether that will continue if the club has to wait for a new ballpark.