Fabled Fenway moves south

A preliminary architectural rendering of the main ballpark at the Red Sox's new spring training facility, scheduled to open in 2012. Populous/Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc.

Red Sox players and fans should feel right at home in the new spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., which is expected to open in 2012.

Preliminary architectural renderings of the state-of-the-art complex were unveiled Thursday, and it’s clear the design team had Fenway Park in mind. Some defining characteristics of the team’s 98-year-old home in Boston are included in the Florida facility, including a “Green Monster” in left field that has seating atop the wall and manual green scoreboard below; the same irregular field dimensions, with Fenway-like nooks and crannies; and bullpens located beyond the outfield wall. In addition, a Yawkey Way type of street positioned south of the ballpark on the complex grounds will create a concourse similar to Yawkey Way, where street venders and entertainers cater to fans.

The facility, which will be located on Daniels Parkway and officially called the Spring Training Ballpark and Player Development Complex, will have a Florida feel, of course, with landscaping and vegetation consistent with the climate.

The state-of-the-art training complex on the site -- including a main ballpark, six practice fields, and adjoining facilities for both Major and Minor League operations -- will be used year-round. Grass parking lots will double as public soccer fields when games aren’t being played.

“This is an incredibly exciting step in bringing ‘Fenway Park South’ to Southwest Florida,” said Jonathan Gilula, Red Sox executive vice president/business affairs.

The facility, which is pegged to cost around $75 million, had been scaled down recently due to increased construction costs. The original plan had 1,000 more seats in the main ballpark, another practice field, more luxury suites, and larger clubhouses.

Information from the Lee County Board of County Commissioners was used in this report.