With the potential for a new Tustin ballpark virtually gone after talks break down with developer, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are now turning their attention to future Angel Stadium renovations and an Anaheim lease extension.
With Angel Stadium turning 50 years old this year, Angels owner Arte Moreno has been casting about for a replacement, and in recent months Tustin has been the leading contender. Admittedly, there’s been no sense of urgency until now: the current Angels lease ends in 2029, but there’s an opt-out clause for as early as 2019.
However, with Tustin off the table, there is a greater sense of urgency, as city officials seem willing to put together a deal to keep the Angel in Anaheim. The issue in Tustin: with no money available from the city, a developer couldn’t make the numbers work for a development featuring a 37,000-seat, $700-million ballpark. From the Los Angeles Times:
The Angels have not ruled out renewing a search outside Anaheim, or simply letting their current lease there play out. For now, however, the focus appears to be on a new deal with Anaheim….
“Right now, we are in discussions with Anaheim to see if we can find a way to continue to deliver a high-quality fan experience in a city-owned aging stadium,” Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey said.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said the City Council has not yet been briefed on the talks. He said he would like the city to strike a deal with the Angels.
This should be an interesting process, as Tait helped kill an earlier deal that would have given Moreno development rights to the area surrounding the ballpark; in exchange Moreno would have renovated the ballpark on his own dime. Tait argued the development rights were worth more than the $150 million offered by the team, a stance confirmed by a city-retained appraiser. However, since then there’s been no move on any potential development at the ballpark, though some proposals have been floated. Whether or not the development talks are revived remains to be seen.
Angel Stadium was last renovated in 1998, when then-Angels owner Disney Corp. hired Populous and cutting-edge architect Robert A.M. Stern to remodel the aging facility. The ballpark had been altered since its 1966 opening to accommodate Los Angeles Rams NFL football, but the 1998 changes opened the center-field area and returned the facility’s focus to baseball. It’s now the fourth-oldest ballpark still used for Major League Baseball; only Fenway Park (1912), Wrigley Field (1914) and Dodger Stadium (1962) are older.
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