GASTONIA, NC – The Somerset Patriots and other franchises in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball will be playing more games in the south next season as the league announced it is expanding to the City of Gastonia, NC, a suburb west of Charlotte that has supported professional and collegiate baseball since the 1970s.
The ownership group is led by Brandon Bellamy, CEO of Velocity Companies, Inc. Gastonia becomes the second Atlantic League location in North Carolina, joining High Point, where the Rockers began play in 2019.
The new team has yet to be named.
The new franchise will join the Somerset Patriots (NJ), Long Island Ducks (NY), York Revolution (PA),, Lancaster Barnstormers (PA), Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (MD), High Point Rockers (NC) and Sugar Land Skeeters (Texas) in the ALPB, which was forced to suspend play in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
,“We are delighted to bring Atlantic League baseball to Gastonia, a city that has shown tremendous ingenuity and resolve, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ALPB President Rick White. “Under Mr. Bellamy’s ownership, this club and the ALPB will provide the community with best-in-class baseball and exceptional entertainment for years to come.”
In partnership with the City of Gastonia, Bellamy and The Velocity Companies will collaborate on economic development projects tied to the ballpark, which are expected to include residential, retail, hotel, and office space properties, a potential $100M investment opportunity for the City.
“When we learned of this incredible project, we realized it was an opportunity not just to own a team but also to connect with a community that deserves to be showcased,” said Bellamy. “The City of Gastonia has a strong entrepreneurial history, and we are excited to be a part of its continued growth. We look forward to becoming a good neighbor and making a lasting impact in Gastonia.”
The city’s 5,000-seat multi-use ballpark, which will be managed by the team, is under construction according to Atlantic League facility specifications and will host family-friendly programming, provide an intimate fan experience with sports and innovative gatherings, and offer a unique field configuration. The venue will serve as a community recreational asset open to all for its inaugural season in 2021, offering year-round access, anchored by ALPB play, plus entertainment events, community-based sports, and recreational activities. It will function as the centerpiece of the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) development, a transformative redevelopment project for the City of Gastonia.
The Texas Rangers fielded a minor league team in Gastonia for 20 years beginning in the mid '70s before relocating to Hickory, NC. The Gastonia Grizzlies, which plays in a summer collegiate league, has played there since.
“We are excited to have Mr. Bellamy join us in our continued efforts to create a great place that our community can be proud of," said Gastonia’s Mayor Walker Reid, III. “This is a milestone for our city and an example of how economic development partnerships invigorate a community and prove to be mutually beneficial for all parties.”
City Manager Michael Peoples added, “This project required all of us to think outside of the box and work together for the city’s future. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Mr. Bellamy and the Atlantic League as we reimagine what Gastonia is capable of achieving.”
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent more than 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 23-year history. For more information, please visit AtlanticLeague.com.
The Gastonia baseball team will operate under the formal entity NC Gas House Gang, LLC and is majority owned by Velocity Companies, LLC CEO Brandon Bellamy (www.thevelocitycompanies.com). Among other investors, Mr. Bellamy is joined by ARCTRUST Properties, Inc. CEO Robert Ambrosi (www.arctrust.com).
Bellamy is a real estate entrepreneur and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Velocity Companies. He has been involved in real estate investment, real estate development, and private fund management for 30 years. During his tenure at The Velocity Companies, the firm has developed and consulted on projects located in the Mid-Atlantic and the Carolinas with an aggregate asset value exceeding $500 million. For more information, please visit www.thevelocitycompanies.com.