The long-awaited sale of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) and a 30-year lease for a renovated PNC Field could be wrapped up by Thursday.
Officials with Lackawanna County say they've reached an agreement with Mandalay Baseball Properties and the New York Yankees to sell the team for $14.6 million and commit the team for 30 years to PNC Field. The county will then flip the sales proceeds back into a $40-million renovation of the ballpark, which has been on hold while the two sides hammer out a deal. (The state is picking up $40 million of the cost of the project.)
The ballpark lease was the sticking point, as the two sides debated the finer points of the lease. The base lease is 30 years; with options, it could extend to 50.
The Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority will hear details about the lease tonight, while Lackawanna County could approve a deal as soon as Thursday. Time is of the essence: ballpark renovations must be completed in time for the 2013 season (the SWB Yankees are playing on the road this season), and architects Ewing Cole have presented a fairly major renovation plan, which includes the demolition of the current upper deck, to be replaced by an open concourse and a second-level suite/press level.
One potential roadblock: Luzerne County, which owns half of the SWB Yankees, may challenge the sale in court.
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