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New Tides lease on tap for Harbor Park

Norfolk TidesA new lease at Harbor Park for the Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League) will see an increased rent for the team, along with a slew of ballpark improvements down the road.

The 15-year lease calls for a base rent of $225,000 and gives the city a share of team revenues — 10 percent of all gross annual revenue past $6.3 million, capped at $150,000. That will be a threshold requiring some growth: the team recorded $5,741,469 in gross revenues in 2012.

One way to pump up the revenue: upgrades to Harbor Park. If you’ve been, you know it’s a tweener: built big to potentially host Major League Baseball down the line, a double-deck behemoth that offers endless supply. The new lease addresses this by mandating ballpark changes, committing the city to $3 million in improvements in the first 10 years of the lease, matched by the Tides to the tune of $500,000. This could take the form of a rooftop party deck and table seating down the third-base side. Both moves would decrease capacity and add premium areas to the ballpark — two things sorely needed in such a large ballpark. From Hampton Roads Online:

The long-awaited agreement is retroactive to April 1, and it replaces a 20-year lease that expired after the 2012 season. The Tides played the 2013 season under what Norfolk mayor Paul Fraim called a “handshake” agreement with the city as both parties waited for lawyers to hammer out the language.

“We’ve known for a while we had a deal,” Tides president Ken Young said Monday from his office in Tampa, Fla. “The fact is we knew this was going to get done, and I felt comfortable all along.”

The lease still needs to be approved by the City Council.


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