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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