MINNEAPOLIS -- The Astros on Thursday announced plans to proceed with last year's proposed renovations of the center field area at Minute Maid Park, including the removal of Tal's Hill following this season. The changes were originally scheduled to take place after the 2015 season, but the team later postponed the project.
Construction on the new center field area will begin immediately following the conclusion of the season in time for '17. The renovation will include improved seating options, new food and beverage options, the addition of escalators to improve fan access and revisions to the playing field.
The design of the new center field area was in partnership with MSA Sport and influenced by feedback from fans, current and former players and front office personnel. Astros executives also visited over 20 Major League parks.
"We are very pleased to be moving forward with our plans to renovate the center field area of our ballpark and continue to improve the fan experience," Astros president Reid Ryan said in a statement. "This project is our latest effort to make Minute Maid Park one of the most modern and comfortable venues in Houston. Whether fans are taking in an Astros game or attending one of our many special events, we are confident the updated center field area will provide a new and unique view of the action."
When the renovations are complete, the current center field distance would be 409 feet instead of 436, moving Minute Maid Park from the deepest center distance to sixth in the league. The seating capacity of Minute Maid Park would remain essentially the same.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.