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Memphis offers $20M for AutoZone Park; city, Cards to pay $20M for renos

Memphis Redbirds

The city of Memphis is set to pay $20 million for AutoZone Park, the home of the Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), and spend $5 million more on upgrades, along with $15 million from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Those are the terms of the deal, which will be debated by the Memphis City Council tomorrow. The Cardinals are buying the Redbirds from the Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation for an undisclosed price (though certainly much more than $20 million), with the foundation selling the ballpark to the city for $20 million. As part of the deal, the Cardinals would sign a 17-year lease at $300,000 per year and commit to $15 million in ballpark upgrades, which would include removing some sections of seating down each line and adding per-game seating tables to the club level.

The issue: some council members say they don’t have enough data to make an informed decision about a takeover of the ballpark. From WMC-TV:

Memphis City Council chairman Jim Strickland says the summary of the contracts failed to provide enough information for him to take a final swing Tuesday at the proposal for the city to buy AutoZone Park.

“I’ve heard this rumor that they not only need a committee to approve it tomorrow … They need the full council to approve it,” said Strickland.

It’s not clear whether Strickland, who has emerged as a strong opponent of the deal, is correct.

RELATED STORIES: Cardinals to buy Redbirds, city to buy AutoZone Park; Redbirds still on market entering 2013; Status quo reigns in Memphis; Talk of AutoZone Park sale premature: PontiusMemphis looking at buying AutoZone Park; Weiss, Global Spectrum take full reins of Memphis Redbirds tonight


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