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Fate of Bevos in the air until November, maybe December

Portland BeaversIn a chicken-and-egg situation, San Diego Padres owner Jeff Moorad says he’s willing to buy the homeless Portland Beavers if Escondido builds a new ballpark — but nothing will happen on either front for months, leaving the rest of the Pacific Coast League in limbo.

Escondido (Cal.) officials sound pretty confident they can put together a financing deal for a new ballpark for the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) for the 2012 season, assuming they can approve a plan in November. The plan, as it’s been described to us by city officials, is speculative and ties up most of the city’s borrowing capacity for a number of years. Also, the lease as presented by Moorad pretty much pledges all revenue from the ballpark to the relocated Beavers. 

How on earth will Escondido pay off the bonds issued to pay for the ballpark? By increased tax revenue generated from development surrounding the ballpark — but not the ballpark itself. Relying on a ballpark as an economic engine is always an iffy deal: it usually doesn’t work, which is why the smart folks in baseball never make those sorts of predictions. (Indeed, look at Target Field: the Twins were shrewd enough to position public funding as a quality-of-life issue, not an economic issue — and the new ballpark still managed to make a huge financial impact already in downtown Minneapolis.)

The plan would have the city pay for a new ballpark with bonds backed by revenues from the city redevelopment agency, generated for the next 26 years. Because these bonds would be speculative — the state has the right to seize these funds to balance the state budget — the terms would be exorbitant, sending the cost of a $45 million ballpark to $90 million.

If Moorad does buy the Beavers, they’ll play in Lake Elsinore, at the Single-A park that’s currently the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (High Class A; California League).

To complicate things, Moorad says he won’t follow through on a purchase until a ballpark decision in Escondido is reached, which totally kills the plans of Merritt Paulson to sell the team this month. Without a new ballpark, we’re guessing Moorad walks away from the deal — and however confident Escondido officials are about wanting to build a new ballpark, the real power lies with the folks issuing the bonds.

RELATED STORIES: Padres pitch one-sided lease to Escondido; Escondido: Show us some money, Padres; Escondido in, San Marcos out of Bevos ballpark mix; Portland Beavers to…Lake Elsinore?; Could bidding war erupt for Bevos?; Portland Bevos update: Tucson-bound?; Come 2011, where will Beavers play?; Paulson finalizes deal for PGE Park soccer conversion; whither the Bevos?; Paulson withdraws bid for Bevos ballpark in Beaverton; Decision on Bevos ballpark could go to Beaverton voters; Beaverton, Bevos reach agreement on new ballpark sans site; Land woes could kill Bevos ballpark in Beaverton; Picketers greet pro-Beavers rally in Beaverton; Landowners not thrilled with Beaverton Bevos ballpark plan; Bevos eye Beaverton for new ballpark site; Paulson withdraws request for Bevos ballpark in Lents; Portland to move ahead with soccer renovation, put off plans for Bevos ballpark; Thursday vote could determine Bevos ballpark fate; New Beavers ballpark lacks support on City Council; Bevos, city close to final funding proposal for new ballpark; Rose Quarter location officially off the table for new Bevos ballparkBevos ballpark plans back up in the air — and maybe doomed; Portland ballpark vote delayed as mayor adjusts site, financial plans; New Beavers ballpark wouldn’t happen until 2012 — at the earliest; Cost of Portland redevelopment mushrooms to almost $300 million; Crunching the numbers on a new Bevos ballpark; Portland proposes tearing down Memorial Coliseum for new Bevos ballpark; Portland City Council votes to move ahead with new Bevos ballpark — but takes $15 million from the equation; Paulson agrees to Portland’s financial demands; still may not be enough; Bevos ballpark plan runs into serious financial obstacles; Portland task force gives preliminary approval to new Bevos ballpark — with plenty of conditions; Portland ballpark discussion shifts to Rose Quarter; Decision on new Bevos ballpark location delayed; Will new ballpark fly in Lents?

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