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Crane: We could have relocated PCL team here by 2016

Houston AstrosAstros owner Jim Crane says Triple-A ball could be in the Houston area by 2016, and announced that planning a new spring-training home to be shared with the Toronto Blue Jays is in the final stages.

The Astros have been working with an area developer on a plan that would include a new Triple-A ballpark; Johnson Development has purchased 2,000 acres of land just north of The Woodlands for new construction. While that area is part of the greater Houston area, it’s still a good distance from downtown Houston (where the Astros play) and presumably give the Astros good access to players while not attracting too many fans from Minute Maid Park. From

“As soon as they get closed, we hope to sit down and try to bang out a deal where we would have some property to build a facility there and eventually put a Triple-A team in there,” Crane said. “It could take some time. The earliest is ’16, maybe ’17.

“It’s going to take a while to get all the permits and everything in place. We’re certainly interested in doing it. We think it makes long-term sense for the team to have the Triple-A affiliate reasonably close and in a vibrant area that’s really growing.”

The Astros, who have a player development contract with Triple-A Oklahoma City through 2014, would have to purchase a Triple-A club and move it into that area once a Houston-area facility is ready.

Talk has centered on the New Orleans Zephyrs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) as the team to be bought and moved, but that may be a little premature given the timing.

Meanwhile, the team has announced it expects a new spring-training complex in Palm Beach Gardens to be shared with the Toronto Blue Jays to open in 2016 or 2017, with the Blue Jays officially signing a letter of intent to share the facility. We have lots more information about that development on our sister site, Spring Training Online.

RELATED STORIES: Crane: Astros close to finalizing Palm Beach training site; Florida approves $50 million in aid for new Astros, Blue Jays spring-training complex; Big night for Astros; big year ahead; Blue Jays: We’re looking for new spring home; Crane: Triple-A ball could be coming to Houston area


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