As the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the city negotiate a new lease for Angel Stadium, a key issue will be the worth of land the Angels want to develop near the ballpark.
The current proposal calls for the city to lease 155 next to the ballpark to Angels owner Arte Moreno for $1 per year, with the agreement that the Angels will develop the land with an entertainment complex and more. In September the City Council voted 4-1 to move forward to lease negotiations that would extend an opt-out from 2016 to 2019 and give the Angels the ability to drop "of Anaheim" from the team name. The Angels are also seeking a lease extension through 2036 (and potentially through 2057) in exchange for the parking-lot development rights. Developing the area around the ballpark -- which could also affect fans attending Honda Center games -- has been a goal of the city for years now.
At a city-sponsored meeting covering the future of Angel Stadium, four of the five citizens speaking out about the proposed lease said the city ws undervaluing the land and should seek more from the team in terms of revenues and investments. While some spoke out again the cost of ballpark maintenance, the issue of leasing the land for basically nothing stuck in the craw of several citizens. From the Voice of OC:
“It’s so insulting to even have” that, said real estate broker Paul Kott, one of four residents who spoke out against the framework. One resident spoke in favor.
Kott estimated the stadium and surrounding land is worth between $300 million and $1 billion, and that the city is already getting far less than a conservative real estate return of 5 to 6 percent.
Anaheim currently gets about $1 million in annual revenue from the stadium, Kott said.
A city-commissioned study on the worth of the land should be done by the end of March.
On the one hand, it's easy to see why residents would be irritated on spending money on ballpark improvements to a wealthy team owner pocking a $2.5-billion television contract in recent years. On the other hand, Moreno does have some leverage: there are undoubtedly other communities in the area, including Los Angeles proper, who would love to take new ballpark/development deal with Moreno.
Image courtesy of Anaheim Public Library.
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