Paresh Patel’s dream is to not just build a west suburban showcase for cricket, a sport he played and loves.
He seeks to construct a first-class facility with up to 24,000 seats in west suburban Oswego that could eventually be the nation’s largest cricket grounds.
Patel, a 37-year-old Oswego resident, expressed confidence as he hosted an Aug. 24 open house to both introduce the sport and his proposed Breybourne Stadium to local residents and interested parties.
The open house at the Oswego Public Library was the public debut of an ambitious plan that starts small and would grow exponentially.
“I wanted to do something in the field of sports, of cricket,” said Patel, who played semipro cricket in India while being involved in technology in his working life. “In 2020 we started to think about (if) it is realistic. We did our research and our market research and today at this stage I’m presenting it as a first step.
“I’ve been playing this sport since I was 5 and I love this sport,” he said. “I came to this beautiful country and adopted it as my home. And I wanted to give that culture to my kids. Not just my kids but the community.”
The meeting drew more than 50 persons, many invited from a residential subdivision that adjoins the 33.4-acre site on the northwest corner of Orchard Road and Tuscany Trail on Oswego’s western fringe.
Questioners were polite and curious, asking about how traffic and noise might impact their neighborhoods, how the project might financially benefit local taxing bodies or if taxpayers might be on the hook.
Patel assured them that taxpayers will not be asked to help pay for it. Instead, Breybourne Stadium would generate tax dollars for local municipalities and entities.
He declined to put a price tag on the project, saying only that millions of dollars would be needed for a privately financed effort.
Behind-the-scenes planning includes extensive documentation — including plat maps, stadium renderings and a statement by Patel and his Chakra360 LLC firm — in files supplied to the village and dated Aug. 10.
At the open house, visitors crowded around easels featuring different facets of the plan, including a sequence of illustrations starting with a simple field to start and progressing to the eventual final stadium design.
The property is zoned M-1 as a limited manufacturing district. An Oswego residential subdivision is immediately west. Directly south is an undeveloped area mostly zoned residential. The location borders Yorkville and Montgomery. The boundary of Aurora, meanwhile, is about a mile north.
But most of the Oswego portion of the Orchard corridor is zoned B3 as a commercial service and wholesale district. While only partly developed, the district contains several strip malls including small retailers, services and restaurants as well as a Jewel-Osco store. A domed indoor golf facility is also currently under construction.
“The Orchard Road corridor (is) a major regional transportation corridor, intended for intense nonresidential development,” according to Patel’s statement. “The Breybourne Stadium represents a significant economic investment in the Oswego community that will have a positive impact, contributing to the expansion of related commercial and retail uses not only in the corridor but throughout Oswego and the region.
“The general welfare is enhanced as a result of increased revenues to all taxing districts without the addition of residents and the associated services.”
The preliminary site plan prepared by Oswego-based Schoppe Design Associates Inc. calls for a circular arena that could seat 24,000 or more persons.
An arena overview illustration suggests a two- to three-level stadium and would eventually include a members’ clubhouse, a four-story hotel, a pad for a restaurant and nearly 1,500 parking spaces.
The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission will be the first stop and Patel said the proposal would be introduced at a Sept. 7 meeting. If approved, it could go before the full village board later in September.
A relatively aggressive construction timeline is planned, with some work potentially starting this fall or in spring 2024. Parking lots and berm seating for 2,000 could arrive for late summer or early fall 2024 games. Fall 2025 could bring fixed stadium seating for up to 6,000 and further expansion to 14,000 by 2026.
A future phase would bring capacity to 24,000-plus by an unspecified date. That would make it the nation’s largest cricket grounds, exceeding the 20,000-seat Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida.
Details are now available on the village’s website (www.oswegoil.org/planningzoning).
If fully developed, Breybourne Stadium would also rank as northern Illinois’s fifth largest outdoor venue behind Chicago’s Soldier Field (61,500), Wrigley Field (41,160), Guaranteed Rate Field (40,615), Northwestern University’s Ryan Field (47,130) in Evanston and place just ahead of Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium (23,595) in DeKalb.
Cricket, described as a ball and bat game with some similarities with baseball, is second in worldwide popularity only to soccer. The sport is followed by an estimated 2.5 billion fans, according to worldatlas.com, a Canadian geography and data site.
The centuries-old game originated in England and remains among the top sports in the United Kingdom. However, it is No. 1 in former British colonies like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and also maintains strong followings in Australia and New Zealand.
There are even teams in Mexico and Brazil.
But it barely registers in the United States and Patel hopes to help raise the sport’s American profile with the stadium and a professional cricket team that would be part of a U.S. league.
“The sport is wildly popular throughout the world, and major growth and expansion of the sport is planned and underway through the United States,” according to Patel’s statement.