Nats offering suite new deal

Got a cool $400,000 to spare?

If so, the Washington Nationals are prepared to offer you some of the better seats at the team’s new ballpark, which is scheduled to open in 2008.

The Nationals yesterday unveiled a new animated video offering prospective ticket holders a glimpse of the ballpark’s inside, including the luxury suites that are now on sale.

Cranes and hardhats still populate the ballpark site along South Capitol Street, but the team’s new 11-minute video depicts a shiny, completed “Nationals Park” featuring plazas lined with cherry trees, a high-definition scoreboard and concourses offering a flurry of entertainment options. But the movie gives top billing to the 66 luxury suites, which likely will serve as a backbone of the team’s financial health.

All of the suites are located between the first- and third-base lines, with some of the top seats located directly behind home plate. The suites have yet to be named officially and likely will end up with corporate sponsors, but for advertising purposes the team has temporarily named them after several of the most famous U.S. presidents.

There are the eight Washington Suites, which the Nationals claim will offer the best sightlines in baseball and as much as 880 square feet of space, making them larger than many Pennsylvania Avenue apartments. With prices starting at about $400,000, buyers of the Washington Suites will receives access to a baseball-themed sports bar and lounge populated with high-definition televisions, currently dubbed the “Nationals Club.”

For about $175,000, fans can move one level up in the ballpark to one of the 22 Lincoln Suites, featuring private buffets, bars and lounges and access to the two-level “Stars and Stripes Club,” home to a variety of food stations and panoramic views of the Anacostia River. And for $150,000, fans can get into a Jefferson Suite, a more humble suite also offering access to the Stars and Stripes Club.

The Nationals’ principal ownership group, led by real estate developer Theodore N. Lerner, is investing more than $30 million on upgrades to the ballpark, including enhancements to the suite areas. The Nationals began a presale of suites about two weeks ago to some of the larger businesses in the city and said response has been good.

“There’s been sensational reaction,” said Nationals president Stan Kasten, who noted that at least two Bar Mitzvahs have been booked for the Stars and Stripes Club already. “This is going to be the easiest part of the sale process.”

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