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Fayetteville Moves Forward with Astros MiLB Ballpark

Carolina League logoIt wasn’t close: the Fayetteville City Council voted 10-0 last night to move forward with a new Houston Astros MiLB ballpark for a High A Carolina League team, with a 2019 opening specified.

While the vote was nonbinding, it does commit the city to further talks with the Astros and a game plan of sorts, potentially allowing for the move of two California League teams to North Carolina for the 2017 season. The goal is to have a new ballpark deal, including a full lease, by the end of the year. The moves comes after the Astros and the city agreed on the broad terms of a deal.

The new ballpark would be located behind the Prince Charles Hotel off Hay Street, as part of a larger redevelopment that includes an overhaul of the historic hotel. From the Fayetteville Observer:

Colvin, who is the committee’s chairman, said the committee would schedule a meeting soon to start finalizing the financial model.

“But the main thing was to get an agreement in place by the deadline,” Colvin said, referring to Friday. “This is a complicated, very important project, and we’ve moved fairly quickly, in my opinion, over the last 30 to 45 days to get where we are.”

Arp added that it would be “the general consensus of the council” to not raise taxes to pay for the stadium.

“We want to do it within existing funding options that we have, and we want to do it with partners who want to participate with us,” Arp said.

In short, there are still many details of the deal to be worked out. The city has capped the cost of the ballpark at $33 million, and the Astros lease should yield $9 million or so over the course of 30 years. We’re guessing the developers of the Prince Charles Hotel project are next in line to discuss a private investment.

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