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Palm Bay hires consultant for ballpark deal

Brevard County ManateesWith Brevard County poised to turn over management of Space Coast Stadium to the U.S. Specialty Sports Association, Palm Bay has hired a consultant to work out a ballpark deal with the Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League).

The U.S. Specialty Sports Association has an agreement to manage Space Coast Stadium after the county spends $10 million on renovations. The Manatees had pitched management of the ballpark, but the county decided to move forward with another plan from the U.S. Specialty Sports Association, which currently is a tenant at Osceola County Stadium. It gets complicated when it comes down to what the county expects from the association (minimum number of hotel rooms reserved, etc.). With the Washington Nationals set to depart Brevard County for a new West Palm Beach spring-training facility, the future of Space Coast Stadium was in some doubt, and the U.S. Specialty Sports Association deal keeps the ballpark open with a very viable tenant.

If Space Coast Stadium isn’t available, then the Manatees will need a new home — and that’s where Palm Bay comes in. The city has retained a consultant to help the city negotiate an agreement for a new development that could include a new ballpark. Figures of $75 million for the development are being tossed around. Most of this won’t be related to the ballpark itself, but at least Palm Bay is thinking big — but it’s still very early. From Florida Today:

On June 8, City Manager Gregg Lynk inked a contract paying Mark LaRusso a $5,000 up-front consulting fee. Per contractual terms, LaRusso will help the city attempt to secure a binding agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Class A-Advanced minor league team to move its home games to a future stadium within city limits….

This afternoon, Manatees General Manager Kyle Smith said USSSA officials have not contacted him about the potential move.

Regarding a potential Palm Bay ballpark, Smith said “the team is happy to take a look.” He said a financing deal would have to be hammered out before a specific stadium site is selected.

RELATED STORIES: Manatees, Palm Bay chat new ballpark; Palm Bay mayor: Let’s look at privately financed ballpark; Palm Bay explores new ballpark

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