If you build it, tourists will come.
That’s the theory, at least, held by the new owners of the Dyersville, Iowa, farm where the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” was shot, who are betting that an $80 million development on the site will be a homerun with baseball enthusiasts.
An investment group led by baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and Illinois real estate developer and video poker magnate Rick Heidner, which bought the farm last year, revealed plans last week for a “premier youth baseball and softball destination” on the nearly 300-acre site, approximately 200 miles west of Chicago.
Expected to be completed in the next three years, the project will see nine ballfields built on the farm, as well as team dormitories and a 104-room hotel, the Architect’s Newspaper reported. Other elements include an outdoor concert venue, a 100,000-square-foot field house, an RV park and jogging trails. The project requires expanding the 190-acre property by an additional 100 acres, much of which will be preserved as a working farm, according to the publication.
The farm already brings in tourists: This year, 300,000 people are expected to visit the site, which currently offers a souvenir shop, a concession stand and the famed ball-field. For $500 per night, visitors can rent rooms in the farmhouse featured in the movie, according to its website.
The farm, which in the film attracts the ghosts of long-deceased baseball legends such as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, has attracted living major leaguers, too. The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox played a regular season game at the farm last August and the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are scheduled to play there this summer.
Development work at the site will support 170 full-time equivalent construction jobs, according to the new owners. Infrastructure improvements at and around the property are already underway.
[The Architect’s Newspaper] – Harrison Connery