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Negotiations fail to yield agreement on Wilmington ballpark lease

Carolina LeagueTalks between Wilmington (N.C.) officials and Mandalay Baseball Properties on a lease for a proposed downtown ballpark have failed to result in a lease agreement, but negotiations will continue.

The two sides are discussing a deal for a new ballpark for the relocating Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League), with the team owned by the Atlanta Braves and the ballpark leased and managed by Mandalay Baseball Properties. If approved by voters, the ballpark could open in time for the 2014 season.

But before that happens, the two sides must reach agreement on a lease. National Sports Services laid out the basics of an agreement in terms of facility size and budget — some $42 million for the project — but Wilmington officials want to spend less than that. Also, we’re guessing Wilmington wants to see Mandalay put up some money on the front end to decrease the amount of borrowing, as well. In an interview with the StarNews, Councilman Kevin O’Grady didn’t sound too optimistic about the way things were going:

‘We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there,” he said.

Talks will continue next week; the ultimate deadline is Aug. 7, when the specific language of the fall referendum needs to be finalized.

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