After hours of debate, Anaheim council approves details of Angel Stadium sale

The deal isn’t totally done, but the Anaheim City Council early Wednesday, Sept. 30, approved the terms on which they’ll sell the city’s biggest asset, Angel Stadium, and allow the surrounding property to be developed with thousands of homes, offices, shops and restaurants that are expected to generate millions in revenue.

The council’s vote, which came at the end of a more than seven-hour meeting, was not a surprise – a majority led by Mayor Harry Sidhu in December agreed to the framework of the deal, and their public comments have been supportive of the details that were unveiled earlier this month.

  • The plan for developing the Angel Stadium property includes improving the connection to the ARTIC transportation center, by opening the outfield to “create a dramatic new entrance to the stadium surrounded by a wide range of retail, dining and entertainment experiences to be enjoyed game day and every day.” (Courtesy of SRB Management)

  • The Stadium Development Plan is a proposed 30-year master plan that would bring “a diverse housing, transit-oriented and walkable community to the Platinum Triangle – all anchored by parks, offices, public spaces, shops, restaurants and entertainment entirely connected to Angels Baseball.” (Courtesy of SRB Management)

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  • The development plan for the Angel Stadium property envisions guests arriving on game days via local transportation hubs and parking area will be able “to enjoy two dynamic retail, dining and entertainment hubs on the property in the future.” (Courtesy of SRB Management)

  • The plan for the development of the Angel Stadium property would create a 7-acre central gathering place along with an additional five-acres of linear parks, landscaped paths and playing fields. (Courtesy of SRB Management)



When the sale closes, likely in late 2021, the city will turn over the stadium and the 150 acres on which it sits to SRB Management, Angels owner Arte Moreno’s business partnership, in exchange for $150 million in cash and another $170 million in community benefits that include 466 units of housing for lower income residents and a 7-acre public park that is expected to be a showpiece.

Sidhu, who helped negotiate the deal, said any city council would be happy to make a deal like this, with a projected 30,000 construction jobs and 45,000 permanent jobs, a walkable development with 15% affordable housing, a high-quality urban park and a long-term commitment from a Major League Baseball team to play in town.

“I truly believe residents for generations to come will thank us for (this), and actions we take tonight will truly benefit all residents in our city,” he said.

In a statement, SRB Management spokeswoman Marie Garvey said, “Tonight was an important vote by the City of Anaheim and will secure a long-term home for the Angels. While there are still more steps to go, we are pleased that the Stadium Development Plan continues to move forward. In the future, this property can play a key role in Anaheim’s recovery by creating thousands of jobs and building an exciting destination and community for residents and fans.”

Two council members, Denise Barnes and Jose Moreno, have been critical of the deal, which they say grossly undervalues the property and deprives the city of millions of dollars that could be used to fund services and programs that benefit all Anaheim residents. They cast the only two no votes Wednesday.

Barnes tried to postpone the issue until the city holds an in-person public workshop, but only Moreno supported that suggestion. The city held three online town halls this month at which residents could submit questions, but no in-person meetings have taken place since March due to the pandemic.

Moreno continued to question whether the deal was negotiated appropriately, and he objected to crediting SRB Management about $46 million for a park that would be a selling point in what’s expected to be a high-end development.

“It’s not only a community benefit, it’s a benefit to the developer,” he said.

Some residents and Angels fans have applauded the deal, in part because it includes a commitment agreement that locks the team into playing in Anaheim at least through 2030 (the owner could face a penalty of at least $100 million if the team were to leave early). It also provides for Moreno to either renovate or replace the 1966 stadium, but no decision on that has been announced. The city will be out of the business of maintaining the stadium.

But others, including two former Anaheim mayors, have been critical of what they said is a rushed process with limited public input, and they have questioned why the city is crediting the buyer for millions of dollars in housing and park space, benefits that in some other cases have been negotiated at no cost to a community.

Anaheim officials have noted that the city has no affordable housing mandate requiring a percentage of housing be designated for lower incomes and the 7-acre park is in addition to smaller parks that help the development meet city requirements for new construction.

Moreno also unsuccessfully sought to tweak the language of the agreement that commits the Angels to play in Anaheim for at least 30 more years, citing what he said might be a loophole that could let the team go elsewhere in Orange County.

In 2006, the city lost a lawsuit over the team’s name change to “Los Angeles Angels” when a court determined the lease language allowed it. This time, city staff told the council SRB officials had already agreed to shore up the promise to remain in the city, making Moreno’s suggested change unnecessary.

The city has already been paid $5 million from the sale and may get another $45 million as soon as October. The remainder of the cash payment would come in $20 million installments over the next few years after the sale closes. The council still must take a second, procedural vote on the sale deal, expected at its next meeting.

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Anaheim council looking at new timeline for Angel Stadium development agreement

Instead of seeing a development agreement for the Angel Stadium property this June, Anaheim officials could push the deadline back to September, allowing them to consider it alongside related agreements that were on a later timeline.

The City Council on Tuesday, May 12, will consider changing the timing of some parts of the deal to sell the stadium and surrounding land to SRB Management, a partnership including Angels owner Arte Moreno, his wife and their family trust.

After a long preparation period and comparatively swift negotiations, the council voted in December to sell the 54-year-old ballpark and surrounding parking lots in a $325 million deal that would commit the Angels to play in Anaheim through at least 2050, either upgrade or replace the stadium, and develop the surrounding land into a sports and entertainment destination.

The changes to be considered Tuesday were prompted in part by delays in drafting agreements due to the coronavirus outbreak, city spokesman Mike Lyster said. He added that adjusting the schedule will allow the council to consider several related agreements at one time and makes it more likely residents will be able to share their views in person at council meetings.

“The biggest impact would be to move up the close of the stadium site sale. That would bring money we can use for our community sooner,” Lyster said in a statement.

“It could bring development around the stadium sooner. From where we sit today, expected investment around the stadium is seen playing a role in our longer-term recovery from the coronavirus downturn.”

Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said in a statement: “We continue to make progress even in these unprecedented times.  We believe this new timeline is good news for Anaheim and provides the ability to accelerate the purchase and payments as the city looks to recover.”

If the council agrees on Tuesday, SRB Management would pay the city deposits totaling $25 million in October and also submit a master plan for the property, a formal pledge to keep the baseball team in town and a development agreement, which would spell out details such as how much affordable housing and additional park land would be provided and how much would be deducted from the land sale price to cover those community benefits.

The master plan wasn’t originally expected until at least 2021, so with that proposal and the $10 million deposit due with it coming in earlier, the overall sale deal could close sooner.

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Long Beach approaches Angels to explore possible waterfront ballpark

Long Beach officials have reached out to the Angels about the possibility of the team moving and playing in a new stadium on the city’s waterfront, city and team officials said Monday.

The city has not determined whether a baseball stadium would be feasible on the site or if it would be the best use for that property, let alone whether taxpayers would contribute to construction costs that could approach $1 billion.

“We are in the early stages of our due diligence and are exploring a variety of options for this property,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement on Monday. “We have approached the Angels to express our interest and discuss the possibilities of this opportunity.”

The property is a 13-acre lot in downtown Long Beach that was a longtime host for the Ringling Bros. Circus, which led to it being nicknamed the “elephant lot.”

Long Beach officials first approached the Angels several months ago, after the team opted out of its lease at Angel Stadium in Anaheim last October. In January – following a mayoral election, the City of Anaheim voted in favor of a one-year extension to the stadium lease, giving both sides more time to come to a long-term solution. The team is now scheduled to play in Angel Stadium through the 2020 season.

Angels owner Arte Moreno said last week the team’s relationship with the city has been “very positive, a lot of good communication” since Harry Sidhu replaced Tom Tait as mayor in December. The team and the city have agreed to revive talks on a new or renovated stadium in Anaheim, with the city pitching Moreno on the Angels being one of the key ingredients in a mixed-use development that could be Orange County’s version of L.A. Live.

The Angels, last valued by Forbes magazine at $1.8 billion, have not explored relocating outside the region, and it is believed Anaheim and Long Beach are the only sites currently being considered by the team.

Significant details would have to be worked out for a move to Long Beach, most importantly the cost of a new stadium and who would pay for it, to say nothing of parking and traffic congestion issues. The city would also have to consider events already in place for the site, including the annual Long Beach Grand Prix, which runs along Shoreline Drive near the lot every April. There’s also the question of whether the Dodgers would or could legally challenge the Angels trying to relocate to L.A. County.

New stadiums typically require several years for environmental approvals, financing and construction, which would also raise the question of where the Angels would play immediately after their lease expires.

Sidhu said in a statement that it’s no surprise other cities would try to lure the Angels to leave since having a Major League Baseball franchise is a benefit to any city.

The statement read: “… We are confident that the best place for the Angels is and always will be Anaheim, and the one-year extension we granted gives us the time to work out the details and craft an agreement that benefits our residents and the city.”

The Angels indicated they are willing to listen.

“As we have stated from the beginning, we must explore all our options to secure a long-term future for the Angels and provide fans with a high-quality experience in a renovated or new ballpark,” Angels president John Carpino said in a statement Monday night.

In January, Anaheim city councilman Jose Moreno said the city should make sure the team isn’t also negotiating with another city for a new home while talking with Anaheim, but the council majority opposed making that a requirement for extending the lease.

Sidhu met last month with Moreno.

“From that meeting, it is clear the team’s priority is to stay in Anaheim if we can work out a deal that benefits our residents, the city and the team,” Sidhu said in a statement. “We need a plan to make that happen, and we need time to make that happen.”

Negotiations with the Angels have been in fits and starts since 2013 and were basically nonexistent from 2016 until January. In 2013, Tait stood in the way of an Angel Stadium renovation agreement between Moreno and city negotiators, which led to the Angels exploring options for a new stadium in Los Angeles, Carson, Irvine and Tustin.

The Angels have been playing in Angel Stadium since 1966, making it the fourth-oldest ballpark in the major leagues, and they have made it clear that they want a new facility. The stadium currently seats 45,050, and the Angels have sold at least 3 million tickets every year since Moreno bought the team in 2003.

The Long Beach option was first reported Monday by the Long Beach Post.

Last August, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said the “elephant lot” east of the Long Beach Convention Center is the largest plot of undeveloped land in the city. Is it the future home of a ballpark for the Angels if they can’t come to an agreement to remain in Anaheim? (City of Long Beach)

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