Next Tuesday could mark a major milestone for a proposed downtown Fayetteville ballpark, as a lease between the city and the Houston Astros is to be presented.
The goal in Fayetteville has been to finalize the lease by the end of this year, allowing a ballpark for the Astros’ High-A Carolina League to move forward with its planned 2019 opening. Coming to terms on a lease has been the biggest priority in the project in recent months, and it appears that the two sides have come to an agreement.
The city council committee that is reviewing the plan approved two separate deals on Thursday. One is a ballpark lease, an agreement that will last for 30 years and begin with the Astros paying $250,000 annually. After five years, that price will rise incrementally. In addition, the city and the Astros have a separate deal that pertains to team offices and other operations.
Jason Freier, the Hardball Capital CEO who has been assisting Fayetteville in negotiations, says that the deals reached with the Astros should work for the city. More from the Fayetteville Observer:
Mayor Nat Robertson asked if the documents would leave the city exposed to a legal or financial liability. Freier said he didn’t think so, adding that the two documents are “extremely similar” to the agreements he has operated under for the two minor league teams he owns in Columbia, South Carolina, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“It has served us well,” said Freier, participating via speaker phone.
Robertson nodded his head in agreement.
“Perfect, thank you,” the mayor said.
The Fayetteville City Council will review the agreements in a special meeting that begins at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13.
As they await a new facility in Fayetteville, the Astros will be placing the franchise at Campbell University’s Jim Perry Stadium. The team will spend at least the 2017 and 2018 seasons there as the Buies Creek Astros.
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