Weeks after a new funding model for a Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League) was published, Prince William County officials are questioning the project.
As was noted here on December 15, Nationals owner Art Silber and the county were discussing a ballpark agreement that would involve $35 million in bonds issued by Prince William’s Industrial Development Authority. The deal is not finalized but, if it were to go through, it would represent the end of a long delay for the proposed ballpark at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, which has been mired by funding issues.
Per the framework of the deal, the P-Nats would pay $450,000 and $2.7 million in debt service annually. This structure would mean that the county is not directly responsible for funding the facility, but county officials worry about what could happen in the event that the P-Nats cannot make their payments.
That, combined with the potential for costs relating to a proposed parking deck at the site, seems to be giving some county officials pause. More from InsideNova.com:
Though the county wouldn’t be on the hook to fund the new facility directly, or provide any sort of tax abatement for team owner Art Silber, the proposed deal still requires the county to effectively take on debt for the project and serve as a “backstop” if the team can’t make its debt service and lease payments.
According to an October report on the negotiations prepared for supervisors by the Arlington consulting firm PFM Financial Advisors, “the original intent was for the county to not participate in the financing of the stadium.” For supervisors representing the western side of county like Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville, the fact that the stadium could end up costing people who live nowhere near the proposed building is certainly a reason to be skeptical of these plans.
“If it works out, I think this can be a win-win for everybody,” Lawson said. “But I also have real questions about what this will mean for taxpayers in the county.”
But [county supervisor Frank] Principi noted that the proposed deal does not deprive the county of tax revenue from the stadium, even though county documents indicate that the team initially pushed for such a provision.
The P-Nats first proposed this plan to replace Pftizner Stadium back in 2012. Silber had spent years looking to secure private funds for the ballpark but, after difficulties in obtaining financing delayed its construction, he and the county began discussing alternatives.
RELATED STORIES: New Potomac Nationals Ballpark Deal on the Horizion?; New P-Nats ballpark pushed back to 2016; Silber: We’re close to naming-rights deal; New for 2014: New Potomac Nationals ballpark; P-Nats ballpark plan to be unveiled tomorrow; More delays for new P-Nats ballpark; Surprise, surprise: P-Nats ballpark decision put off again; P-Nats expand ballpark search area; Pfitzner Stadium field to be upgraded; As Harper skips Potomac, Silber works on ballpark solution; P-Nats, Prince William County working on new ballpark plan