A new budget for a Triple-A ballpark in El Paso was approved last night by the City Council, pushing the total cost of the project to $60.8 million, with team owners picking up the additional costs.
The original cost of the ballparl was $52.8 million, and the El Paso City Council had already approved issuing bonds based on this figure. But unexpected costs arose during initial work on the ballpark, set to open in 2014, forcing a decision on the higher price tag. MountainStar Sports has purchased the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and will move the team to El Paso. The group will also cover the additional spending, with the city borrowing the money and the lease amended to cover the costs. From the El Paso Times:
Under the approved changes to the lease with MountainStar, the group’s annual rent will double to $400,000 a year, and escalate 10 percent every five years. The term of the lease and nonrelocation agreement was extended from 25 to 30 years.
Under the new agreement, MountainStar will pay $12.1 million more toward the ballpark than originally contracted. The group will now pay nearly $30 million over 30 years in rent, ticket surcharges and parking revenues toward the ballpark.
City officials said projections show that hotel occupancy taxes will now pay for 80 percent of the ballpark, and that the MountainStar lease and ticket and parking revenues will pay for the rest.
The decision to change the amount of bonding was somewhat contentious: a new city council and new mayor will be taking office, and there was some discussion as to whether this was a decision best left for them.
Rendering courtesy Populous.
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