Charlotte Knights break ground in Uptown Friday

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:


After years of hurdles, the Charlotte Knights finally broke ground on their ballpark Uptown.

Knights GM Dan Rajkowski said, "It's really special."

It will be called BB&T Park and should open spring 2014.

The Knights survived the economy, several lawsuits, and multiple county commissions and city councils that weren't always on board with the plans.

In fact, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx struggled with the idea at times because of tall the city's other pressing construction needs, but not anymore.

He said, "You know, sometimes, the best things take a while to happen."

But that's all in the past.

Just ask Charlotte Center City Partners chief, Michael Smith, who many consider the architect behind the whole deal.

When asked, "Emotionally, as soon as the first shovel hit the dirt, what did it feel like for you?" he paused and said, "It's gratifying."

Banks and taxpayers helped the Knights land the roughly $55 million they needed to build Uptown.

Now, the Knights expect the better attendance and to boost Third Ward, where John Silla works.

He smiled and said, "I may end up opening a sports bar."

Sean Busher lives in Third Ward and said, "I live a block away and am really looking forward to walking down here and enjoying some games and grabbing a beer and brat and hanging out."