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Yanks, Mandalay agree to buy SWB Yankees, unveil ballpark renovations

New PNC Field

In a sweeping compromise, the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball will buy the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) and oversee a $40-million renovation of PNC Field.

The Yanks and Mandalay will exercise their option to buy the troubled Triple-A franchise for $14.6 million. As part of the compromise agreement, first reported here last week, the teams will agree to a 30-year lease at PNC Field, which can be extended for another 20 in five-year increments. If the pair want to move the team, the Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority will have first option to buy it, or assign those rights to a third party, with the value of the team established by three appraisers. The yearly rent will increase to $750,000.

As part of the deal, the Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority will spend upwards of $40 million on a renovation of PNC Field. The state will contribute $25 million to the project, with the rest coming from the proceeds of the SWB Yankees sale, $8.7 million in new financing backed by the Yankees rent, and other miscellaneous sources.

There’s not a lot in PNC Field that will not be touched by the renovation, as outlined by Philadelphia’s Ewing Cole, the winner of a competition to redo the ballpark. (At least four firms — including Ewing Cole, DLR, 360 Architecture and Pendulum Studios — were asked to take part in a redesign competition; not all four did.) The upper bowl as well as most of the existing ballpark would be torn down, while the only things untouched by the renovation would be the playing field, parking lots, lower bowl and home clubhouse. A new suite level would be built where the current suites and upper deck are located. A wraparound concourse will ring the playing field, and total capacity (with standing room) would be around 8,500. There’s no timeline on the construction, though the 2012 season is the most likely deadline for everything to be completed.

The deal is still subject to approval by Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority and Lackawanna County officials.

RELATED STORIES: Compromise on the way in SWB ballpark squabble? ; Rendell: Clock is ticking on new SWB ballpark financing; Counties continue spat; SWB Yankees likely to be sold this week; Lackawanna County: In a ballpark bind and mad; Squabbling could derail new SWB Yankees ballpark; Pols: Let’s not fix up PNC Field — or sell team to Mandalay, either

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