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Florida approves $50 million in aid for new Astros, Blue Jays spring-training complex

Houston AstrosThe Florida Legislature approved $50 million in incentives for the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays to build a new spring-training complex in Palm Beach Gardens.

The $36 million in new spending includes $3.3 million in payments for Florida cities and counties wishing to keep spring-training teams in Florida. The state had previously set up a fund allowing cities to apply for funds to keep spring training, but the legislation expands the funding to address two teams training in a joint complex. Right now there is only one Florida two-team complex (Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter), though there are several in Arizona. At one point there was talk of Disney expanding the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex to accommodate both the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians (the Indians subsequently shifted spring operations to Arizona).

The Blue Jays’ lease at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium expires in 2017; the team has been pretty open about seeking a new home. The Astros’ lease at Osceola County Stadium ends in 2016, and team owner Jim Crane owns a golf property in the area.

We’re talking about a long-term commitment from the Astros and Blue Jays: the $50 million would be paid out over the course of 37-and-a-half years, according to the South Florida Business Journal:

The $36 million deal agreed on Monday also includes $3.3 million aimed at retaining Major League Baseball teams for spring training in the state.

One of the components of the spring training legislation would create a higher incentive for a stadium if it were built to serve two Major League baseball teams. It would call for the payment of $50 million over a 37-and-a-half year period.

It’s not been formally announced that the Astros and Blue Jays are jointly seeking a new complex in Palm Beach Gardens, though we reported it at the beginning of this month.

RELATED STORIES: Big night for Astros; big year ahead; Blue Jays: We’re looking for new spring home; Crane: Triple-A ball could be coming to Houston area


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