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Manatees, Winter Park part ways on new-ballpark project

Brevard County ManateesThe Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League) will not be moving to Winter Park, as team ownership ended negotiations for a new ballpark at the Ravaudage development.

The Manatees had pursued new-ballpark plans at Alfond Stadium — a plan killed when Rollins College withdrew its participation — and the Ravaudage development on U.S. 17/92, on an undeveloped 70-acre plot. The team currently plays at Space Coast Stadium in Viera and will stay there for the time being, per the Orlando Sentinel:

The Brevard Manatees issued a statement noting that negotiations with the developer had failed, even though the city and team had offered to fund and build a $22 million, 3,500 seat stadium and a 1,200 space parking garage in the development in exchange for 10-acre parcels of land.

Tom Winters, the Manatees’ owner and a resident of Winter Park, issued a statement saying “We are disappointed, but we have developed a great relationship with, and respect for, the city’s leadership throughout this process. They have been consistently fair and motivated, but protective of the city’s best interests.”…

[Mayor Kenneth] Bradley said he was “disappointed our efforts to have the Manatees call Winter Park home were not successful. Baseball could have added a unique amenity to our city and had the ability to enhance Winter Park’s destination appeal.  In addition, it would have been a tremendous economic impact for our community.”

“When the City Commission asked staff to explore the possibility of bringing this low-cost, family-friendly entertainment opportunity to Winter Park, we were hoping for a win-win-win-win result,” Knight said. “Unfortunately, after months of discussion, research, community input and financial analyses, we could not come to an agreement that was beneficial to all the parties involved.”

Winter Park is a first-ring suburb of Orlando. Depending on how you define the Orlando market (the MSA includes Daytona Beach), it’s regarded as one of the largest U.S. markets without professional baseball.

RELATED STORIES: Winter Park: We’re looking for a new Manatees ballpark site; Winter Park moves forward with new downtown ballpark; Winter Park close to new Manatees ballpark deal; Alfond Stadium back in Manatees ballpark mix; Winter Park moves forward with ballpark feasibility plan; New Manatees ballpark pitched for Winter Park — again; New Winter Park ballpark plan scrapped — for now; Developer pitches new Winter Park ballpark; Brevard County Manatees, Rollins College discussing new ballpark; Pro baseball an endangered species in Viera; Nats go public with desire for new spring-training facility


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