BRADENTON – The Pittsburgh Pirates expanded on their long-term investment in Bradenton with the purchase of property at the corner of 17th Avenue and Ninth Street West adjacent to the main entrance of McKechnie Field. The location of Popi’s Place I restaurant, the approximately one-third-acre parcel will be used as a parking area for the near term.
“The restaurant’s owners let us know they were ready to retire from the business and sell the property,” said Pirates Senior Director of Florida Operations Trevor Gooby. “This parcel is included in the City’s and the Pirates’ strategy for redeveloping the area around McKechnie Field as an arts and entertainment district. The Pirates are making this investment with that in mind.”
The restaurant will close immediately, according to Popi’s Place I Owner Gus Johnson. Building demolition will begin after Spring Training, Gooby said.
Bradenton has hosted Pirates Spring Training every year since 1969. Only one team has trained at its current Spring Training facility longer. First opened in 1923, McKechnie Field is the oldest Spring Training ballpark in use. The addition of lights in 2008 and the expansion of fan-friendly amenities in 2013 have enhanced the ballpark’s status as one of the gems of Florida Spring Training. Ballpark Digest honored McKechnie Field as the “Best Ballpark Renovation” of 2013.
The Pirates will play 16 games at McKechnie Field this spring, beginning with the Black and Gold Game on Tuesday, February 25 at noon. The Black and Gold Game is a charity intrasquad contest. All tickets cost $8 and benefit the Manatee Educational Foundation, Wakeland Elementary School, and G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School.
For more information about the Pirates Spring Training, call 941-747-3031 or visit www.Pirates.com. To purchase tickets to the game call 877-893-2827 or visit the McKechnie Field Ticket Office on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., or Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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