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Wooing voters, Mesa and Cubs release ballpark renderings

In an effort to turn out support for public funding of a new Chicago Cubs spring-training complex in northwest Mesa, the city and the team released renderings of a lovely new facility, complete with retail, iconic sign a la Wrigley and office space.

Mesa voters will have before them two referendum questions on Nov. 2 related to a new Chicago Cubs: the first (Proposition 420 — enter your own pot joke here) will allow the city to spend more than $1.5 million on a sports facility, while the second would raise the city’s hotel tax to potentially help play for the complex. The city is also selling land in Pinal County to help pay for the project.

Which now has a new price tag: $84 million for the development and $15 million for infrastructure work. Mesa’s exposure is capped at this level: if there are additional costs incurred, then the Cubs will pay. The new complex would open in 2013.

The Cubs and Mesa have described the lease as running 30 years, but that’s not quite right: it’s a 25-year lease with two five-year options, and the Cubs can leave after 20 with a buyout, as spelled out in the current Memo of Understanding between the team and Mesa. It is quite the doozy: Mesa pays for everything (including water and trash service; the Cubs will pay for electricity) and receives literally no revenue from the project past normal sales-tax revenues. The Cubs retain everything, including naming rights, suite revenues, concessions and parking revenues.

Which, apparently, was the price for keeping the Cubs in Mesa.

Renderings courtesy of Keep the Cubs.

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