For now, Madison, AL officials are holding off on the public release of a new ballpark lease and will work to finalize a related development agreement.
It was recently revealed that Madison and BallCorps, LLC–the ownership group that purchased the Mobile BayBears (Class AA; Southern League) last year–had come to terms on a lease, management, and license agreement for the ballpark. Slated to be constructed in the Town Madison development, the new ballpark is expected to open in 2020 for the relocating BayBears.
That was a major step in the process of landing the BayBears, but Madison officials are still ironing certain terms for the project. As mayor Paul Finley explained, Madison is in the process of negotiating a development agreement with the developer of Town Madison, something that is crucial to the project’s ability to move forward. More from WHNT:
Over the past month, the city sketched out the broad outlines for bringing baseball to Madison: they want to spend no more than $46 million to build the stadium – which will hold up to 7,500 people – and BallCorps agrees to a 30-year lease.
Finley says the deal wouldn’t work unless the city works out an agreement with Town Madison developer Louis Breland to provide infrastructure, a parking lot and an interchange to the property, an overall deal valued at an estimated $40 million. Town Madison is situated in Madison off I-565, and had been owned by Intergraph Corp.
“The agreement with BallCorps is solidified, we now take that agreement and move towards the development agreement with the developer and for Town Madison proper,” Finley said. “So, the infrastructure that is needed to support it, plus the agreement with the developer are the components. If we aren’t successful with those, then the lease agreement is null and void.”
Finley said he expects to bring both agreements, the lease and the development deal to the Madison City Council on Feb. 26. And, he says when those deals are finalized, they’ll be released to the public.
Should the project move forward, the BayBears would spend the 2018 and 2019 seasons at their current home in Mobile–Hank Aaron Stadium–before moving into the new Madison ballpark for the 2020 campaign. The new Madison facility would also be expected to host other non-baseball events, including concerts, group events and perhaps other sports like pro soccer and high-school football.
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