The ownership of the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) has signed a letter of intent to move the team to a new Winchester (Va.) ballpark for the 2013 season under the terms of a pretty sweet lease proposal.
The new ballpark, to be built at Jim Barnett Park, will be designed by HKS. The projected cost is $15 million, not including any land costs and a contingency fund. In addition, the Economic Development Authority — the Winchester body actually entering into the lease with the Suns — will cover any cost overruns, save any upgrades requested by the team.
The proposed lease has the Suns ownership agreeing to a 22-year lease (through 2034) with two five-year options at the new facility, which will seat 5,000. That capacity will include 4,000 fixed seats and room for 1,000 in the berm, as well as 10 private suites, a stadium club with room for 200, and party decks along each line. The design will be a sunken field below field level.
Some other tidbits from the proposed lease:
- The videoboard budget is $1.5 million.
- The EDA will purchase all concessions equipment at the ballpark for the team; the Suns are free to enter into a third-party concessions deal and retain all revenues.
- The ballpark will be completed on Feb. 28, 2013, but the team will be able to move in on Jan. 31, 2013.
- The team will have exclusive use of the ballpark throughout the term of the lease. The city will have no right to hold other events at the ballpark. The team will be free to hold concerts and other events on non-game days, subject to city approval.
- All suite revenue will go to the team, as will all naming-rights and signage revenue.
- Winchester will pay for two groundskeepers and ballpark cleanup, as well as all future capital expenditures.
- A kids’ play area will be part of the design, along with a picnic area in the outfield for group events.
The Suns will not pay a set amount for the lease. Instead, the team will pay 15 percent of the team’s gross revenues and 10 percent of the team ticket sales. In addition, there will be a 5 percent sales tax on purchases and 5 percent admissions tax on ticket sales. Once bonds are paid off, the team will not pay the percent of revenues and ticket sales; in other words, the team will play there rent-free once bonds are paid off.
The Winchester City Council will be reviewing the terms of the lease at its Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) meeting — so, so appropriate for such a sweetheart lease. More from the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
Under the proposed agreement, the city has until April 17 to arrange funding for the new ballpark.
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