The Astros announced today that the team had received preliminary approval from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority to knock down the banked bit of center field past the Minute Maid Park warning track known as Tal’s Hill. The graded area was named after the team’s former president, Tal Smith, who first suggested including an elevation change — a rarity both in baseball and in Houston — to the stadium soon to be known as Enron Field. The proposed renovations, priced at $15 million and scheduled to take place at the end of the current season, would also straighten out the center field fence and bring it in to 409 ft. from home plate (from the current 436 ft.). More important, the opened-up space beyond would allow room for 3 new bars and 4 new food-service locations, as well as a new group seating area at the field level, which conceptual renderings of the new design released by the American League team (above and below) appear to show tucked behind a new see-through portion of the centerfield fence.
The renovations, designed by MSA Architects, will also result in the removal of the flagpole from the playing field, but the pole’s new position is not shown in the distributed renderings. The angled planting area beyond the existing fence makes a reappearance in the new design, this time as a wall of greenery festooned with what looks like a topiary version of the Astros logo. A new escalator will also be added.
- Astros set to remove Tal’s Hill in time for next season [MyFox Houston]
Renderings: Houston Astros