PRESS RELEASE – The City of Columbia and Columbia Professional Baseball, announced today that they have reached an agreement with Spirit Communications to name the new, state-of-the-art multi-use sports and entertainment venue at Columbia Common in downtown Columbia. The venue will be known as “Spirit Communications Park.”
Spirit Communications is based in Columbia- with its headquarters on Bull Street, just blocks from the Columbia Common development. Spirit was born and raised in Columbia and is one of the 25 largest privately held firms in the state of South Carolina. Spirit was formed in 1984 by the eleven independent telephone companies and cooperatives across the state.
Spirit offers innovative business solutions to a cross section of businesses, government agencies, schools and healthcare organizations throughout the Carolinas. Spirit provides high tech solutions for voice, data, Internet, managed and hosted IT Cloud services that meet the demands of business today and into the future.
“Spirit Communications is delighted to make this investment in what we are sure will be one of the most important and transformative projects our home town of Columbia has seen,” said Bob Keane, President and Chief Executive Officer, Spirit Communications. “Spirit and our owner companies have been a part of many big things here in South Carolina–assuring that modern technology is available to grow businesses throughout our state as well as bringing that technology to underserved rural areas and schools. Supporting Columbia Common and our new hometown team is a natural fit.”
“Spirit Communications is a successful, home-grown Columbia business that, along with its member companies, has done so much for South Carolina,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “They are helping position Columbia as a true center of global innovation and I can’t think of a better partner for our new community venue.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with a cutting edge company like Spirit Communications,” said Jason Freier, CEO, Hardball Capital. “Spirit is a great local company with a tremendous backstory. Spirit is a leader in innovation, collaboration, and customer service and has been a great community partner. Our goal is for this park and professional baseball in Columbia to be recognized the same way.”
Sitework for Spirit Communications Park is scheduled to begin in late December and a ceremonial groundbreaking will occur in early January. Populous, the world’s premier venue architectural firm, has designed the ballpark. The construction of Spirit Communications Park will be managed by CCEB Partners, a joint venture between local firms Contract Construction, Construction Dynamics and EnviroAg Sciences and national ballpark experts Barton Mallow Construction.
Spirit Communications Park will anchor the Columbia Common development, the new gateway to downtown Columbia. Under the guidance of master developer Hughes Development, Columbia Common will transform the 181-acre former state mental hospital site into the premiere live-work-play community in the region.
“This heralds the start of big things for Columbia Common,” said Bob Hughes, President of Hughes Development. “The show of faith by one of our state’s leading companies, Spirit Communications, along with the capabilities they will bring to the project, is just further confirmation that Columbia Common will become a unique and exciting place for the citizens of the Midlands.”
Spirit Communications Park will play host to far more than just baseball. The facility, which is being developed via a partnership between the City of Columbia and Hardball Capital, will serve as a public gathering space with multiple uses for both indoor and outdoor events. From concerts to parties to business meetings and charitable functions, Spirit Communications Park will host hundreds of community events every year. The park will hold approximately 8,000 fans for baseball games and 14,000 for concerts.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to have the Spirit Communications name echo throughout the Midlands,” added Bob Keane. “We’re confident professional baseball in Columbia is going to be a home run. But more than that, Spirit Communications Park will be a venue for the entire community to enjoy.”
“It’s exciting and gratifying to have a great partner like Spirit Communications step up to the plate and support one of our most important projects,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “The momentum in our city is contagious. Uniting one of our strongest local companies with one of the region’s top developers and Minor League Baseball’s top owner/operators will only strengthen that momentum.”