‘The Halos’ owner pulls off quid pro quo deal



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Los Angeles Angels selling Angels stadium Image: LA Angels & MLB

The Anaheim City Council (US) has given the thumbs-up to a revised quid pro quo deal with the American professional baseball team Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, selling Angel Stadium and surrounding land in return for a commitment to keep the Major League Baseball (MLB) team in the Californian City through to at least 2050.

The approval calls for the Angels to play in Anaheim through at least 2050 with five five-year extensions, or through 2075. Angel Stadium and 150 acres of surrounding land will be sold to SRB Management, Moreno’s company, for an appraised market value of $320m (£248.9m/€273.6m).

The Los Angeles Angels are an American professional baseball team based in the City of Anaheim, California, part of Orange County and the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Angels compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division.

It will also comprise payment to City of $150m in cash and $170m in 466 affordable apartments for working families, as well as the development of a seven-acre public park. The stadium land will be developed as homes, offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, entertainment and parks and open spaces, under a plan that aims to drive new City revenue from property, sales and hotel taxes.

The Council greenlighted the revised deal 5-2, with Council members Jose Moreno and Denise Barnes opposing the same.

Media reports stated that the Council rejected Jose Moreno’s motion to eliminate credits and order SRB to pay the full $325m price that was originally agreed in December. The Council is also said to have dismissed Barnes’ motion that the vote be delayed until local residents could comment in person, or at least via Zoom. More than 250 public comments, all delivered via email during COVID-19, were said to have included a mixed view. A citizens’ group has also sued the City, alleging the deal violates State transparency laws.

Reports of a revised deal was first reported earlier this month after the City of Anaheim in June unlocked wide-ranging plans to bring about a sea change in the area around Angel Stadium into a mixed-use development under the ‘The Big A: 2050’ banner.

Approval of the agreement comes after nearly a year of talks between the City and SRB Management, along with Angels Baseball, the operating company for the team. The approval follows futile attempts in 2013-14 and in 2016 to secure baseball’s long-term future in Anaheim as well as development around the stadium.

The Angels have played in Anaheim since 1966. With the agreement, the team is committing to play at Angel Stadium, or any replacement stadium in Anaheim, for the next 30 years or more. The commitment agreement, between the City and Angels Baseball, precludes relocation of the team to another City, an issue that came up in 2014 when the Angels looked at Los Angeles, Carson, Irvine and Tustin and in 2018 when the team looked at Long Beach.

The City of Anaheim built what is today Angel Stadium of Anaheim in 1966, and has owned it since. The sale will end 50-plus years of City stadium ownership and put any future maintenance, refurbishment or venue construction costs solely in the hands of SRB Management. The plan also calls for a renovated Angel Stadium, or a new facility which can sit 45,000 spectators.

Stated Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, “We have made history. What have been far too many years of uncertainty and inaction in Anaheim are now over. We have secured baseball while freeing our City from the costs of stadium ownership. Our residents will benefit for years to come as valuable, underutilized land gives way to a stadium area we can all be proud of.”

SRB Management spokeswoman Marie Garvey remarked, “While there are still more steps to go, we are pleased that the Stadium Development Plan continues to move forward. In the future, this property can play a key role in Anaheim’s recovery by creating thousands of jobs and building an exciting destination and community for residents and fans.”

The plan calls for closure of a sale in late 2021 or early 2022 with City review and approval of what are known as vesting tentative tract maps, which divide the land up for development.

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