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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Glendale: We need to rework spring-training leases

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Camelback Ranch

The upcoming mayoral election in Glendale, Az., has some importance for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, as candidate Jerry Weiers wants to renegotiate the teams' leases for the Camelback Ranch complex.

The issue: Glendale is collapsing under the weight of sports-facility debt, relating both to the spring-training complex and Jobing.com Arena, the home of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes. The debt alone on the Camelback Ranch complex is $200 million, and that number could double to $400 million once debt-servicing costs are included.

Camelback Ranch was financed on the basis of several assumptions. First, it was assumed a downtown-style entertainment/retail district would be built nearby, with sales- and property-tax revenues used to pay down ballpark debt, but the development never reached the final planning stages. Second, it was assumed there would be a lot more development in the area that would boost the tax base. There's been precious little development in the area.

No comment from either team, which should be expected; there's really nothing on the table and Weier, a Republican favored to win, still needs to take office.

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