'Field of Dreams' Property Sold; New Owners Planning Youth Baseball Complex
The Iowa property, which was listed at $5.4 million last year, was featured in the 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta.
The Iowa property featured in Field of Dreams has been sold to a group of buyers planning to add a youth baseball complex alongside the baseball field that took center stage in the 1989 movie.
The 193-acre farm was purchased by an investment group led by Mike and Denise Stillman, a couple from Oak Lawn, Ill. The new owners say they want to leave the field -- which is located about three miles outside of Dyersville, Iowa, population 4,000 -- as it is, including keeping the white house with wraparound porch in the same spot where it overlooks the field, the New York Times reported.
However, the Stillmans do have plans to add a youth complex called All-Star Ballpark Heaven, which will encompass about a dozen new fields and an indoor training dome for baseball and softball practice as well as tournaments. They aim to have construction completed in 2014.
"It's the right time for this," Denise Stillman, 39, a healthcare business consultant, told the Times. "We just know that it's going to be a huge success."
In the film, Kevin Costner builds a baseball field on his Iowa farm that attracts the ghosts of several late baseball legends, including Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), as well as baseball fans who ultimately help Costner's character save his farm from foreclosure -- hence the movie's iconic phrase, "If you build it, they will come."
The field, which was built especially for the movie in just a few days, has become a tourist attraction despite any real promotion. The sellers, Don and Becky Lansing, sell souvenirs and T-shirts but ask only for donations and never erected any sort of billboards or other signs marketing the attraction because they wanted to maintain their privacy. According to the Lansings, about 65,000 people visit the site each year.
Denise Stillman and her husband, MIke, a lawyer, say they are longtime fans of the movie, which was adapted from W.P. Kinsella's book Shoeless Joe. They watched it on one of their first dates at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and used to listen to the soundtrack while studying.
They found out the property was for sale while Mike Stillman was visiting it last with their young son and decided to make an offer.
"It is truly one of the most special places in the U.S. for baseball," Mike Stillman said.
The Lansings first listed the property at $5.4 million in May 2010, but the selling price was not disclosed. Don, a retiree who previously worked at John Deere, and Becky Lansing say they wanted to sell only to someone who would keep the field intact.
“We really have been aware all these years that the field has to grow in some capacity,” Becky Lansing said. “We have done what we needed to do with the field. We nurtured and protected it and allowed the field to become all it is meant to be.”
Field of Dreams also starred Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster in his last major film appearance. The movie, released in April 1989, earned $64.4 million at the domestic box office and earned three Oscar nominations, including best picture, original score and adapted screenplay.