No wonder the San Diego Padres are in a hurry to have Escondido (Cal.) officials approve a lease for a new Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark quickly: the deal proposed is totally one-sided in favor of the Padres. The city would borrow $45 million (at a total cost potentially of $90 million) for the new ballpark and pay down the debt. In exchange, the Padres would pay $200,000 annually and perhaps share a slice of the parking revenue. Oh, and that associated development the Padres are discussing? Not part of the lease.
Now, $200,000 is a pretty low amount for a Triple-A team to be paying for a lease; we know of NY-Penn League teams paying more than that for a shorter season. So let's begin with the understanding that the annual rent itself is low.
Next, let's look at the money the Padres are pledging toward ballpark construction. Zero.
Next, let's cover the other revenue sources at the ballpark and where they're going. Suite revenue? To the Padres. Concessions? To the Padres. Ticket sales? To the Padres. Parking? To the Padres, but they're willing to discuss giving part of that to the city.
Now let's look at who is paying for the ballpark: Only the city of Escondido. The city would borrow $45 million (at a total cost potentially of $90 million) for the new ballpark and pay down the debt with proceeds from city redevelopment funds. If the state seizes those funds to balance a budget -- which isn't outside the realm of possibility -- the city will need to cover debt management out of general funds. With the city laying off workers and cutting back services lately, this isn't the best financial move from city officials.
City officials say development near the ballpark will pay for things. But Escondido isn't exactly attracting development money, and the proposed ballpark site is a pretty remote industrial area. Would you spend millions on a bar/restaurant in a remote industrial area? Let's be real: the ballpark is not going to attract serious development money. The Padres have talked about investing money on their own, but that's not part of the discussions at the moment.
We're doubtful this plan will fly. So far a majority on the City Council are against it, and unless the city can unveil a development partner for the project, we don't see them changing their minds. The Padres will probably need to sweeten the deal or come up with a different plan if they want to see a new ballpark in 2012.
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