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Angels end Anaheim talks; Tustin taking up ballpark talk

Angel Stadium in its first season

With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ending Angel Stadium lease talks, the city of Tustin has scheduled several work sessions — including one tomorrow — to discuss a new ballpark.

Tustin was discussed earlier this year as a potential home of a new Angels ballpark, but Angels owner Arte Moreno decided to pursue a lease extension with Anaheim that would also grant him developmental rights to acreage surrounding the ballpark in exchange for funding ballpark improvements. Talks with the city have centered on whether this was a good plan for the city and whether Moreno would be paying enough for those development rights: Moreno proposed paying for $150 million in ballpark renovations in exchange for a $1 lease to the surrounding land.

Now, if you were looking for a site for a new ballpark, the current Anaheim site would be pretty darned perfect: it’s serviced by major freeways, is highly accessible, and is still somewhat of a blank palette for leveraging other development to help pay for a ballpark. Indeed, some city officials have opposed any sort of deal with Moreno, saying the land should be totally given over to new development, which would generate some immediate cash for city coffers.

Tustin is southeast of Anaheim, a much smaller community but still one well-served by freeways and one with some desirable land parcels. And while city officials have made it pretty clear there’s no money available for ballpark construction, Moreno says the team could afford to build its own ballpark. (Indeed, Moreno may not have a choice: it’s doubtful any city in the Los Angeles area has the money to build a new ballpark.) But when your budgeting begins with a $3-billion broadcast contract and a stake in Fox Sports West, you could easily pencil in $800 million or so for a new ballpark. From the Los Angeles Times:

Spokeswoman Marie Garvey said the Angels were walking away from one particular deal, not necessarily from Anaheim.

“It’s been over a year,” Moreno said. “We’ve gone backward. We haven’t accomplished anything.”

The proposed Tustin site would be about eight miles southeast of Anaheim, on land formerly used as a Marine Corps base, with access to Interstate 5, the 55 Freeway and a Metrolink station. The Angels also have acknowledged talks about a site next to the Great Park in Irvine.

Angel Stadium opened April 19, 1966 as Anaheim Stadium.

RELATED STORIES: Critic: Angel Stadium economic impact based on faulty data; City-commissioned appraisal of of Angel Stadium to be released; No public money for new Angels ballpark: Tustin mayor; Moreno: Angels committed to Anaheim, but checking out alternatives; Angels lease negotiations hinge on value of land surrounding ballparkAngels casually threaten move during lease negotiations


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