The Los Angeles Times reports that representatives from the Los Angeles Angels met with representatives of FivePoint, the developer of Irvine’s Great Park, on a possible stadium site for the Angels near the El Toro Y. Of course, both sides are saying nothing other than a meeting took place, but the LA Times has more here. The location makes a lot of sense and would certainly make it easier for fans in South County, the fastest growing part of OC, to make it to games without the gridlock of the Orange Crush.
From the story:
The Irvine City Council agreed last November to let FivePoint Communities build 688 acres of the Great Park in exchange for permission to build 4,606 homes nearby, with both projects on land formerly used as a Marine Corps air base. The property is near the intersection of the 5 and 405 freeways — the “El Toro Y” — with an adjacent train station.
“The Angels have met with FivePoint Communities as part of exploring our options,” team spokeswoman Marie Garvey said Thursday.
FivePoint spokesman Aaron Curtiss declined to comment.
It is unclear whether FivePoint has any interest in putting a ballpark on the 688-acre site. The Angel Stadium site covers about 155 acres, with about 20 of those for the stadium itself.
Craig Reem, spokesman for the city of Irvine, said the city has heard “not a peep” about any talks between the Angels and FivePoint but said the development plan pitched to the city earlier by FivePoint covers almost all of those 688 acres. The proposed uses include a 188-acre golf course, a wildlife corridor, and a 176-acre recreational sports complex — “twice the size of Disneyland,” as The Times reported in November.
Now this news comes on the heels of the release of the appraisal for Anaheim Stadium with the team AND without the team, assuming that baseball operations have ended.
From the story in the LA Times:
The land upon which Angel Stadium sits is worth $325 million if the ballpark is demolished and $225 million if the Angels stay and the surrounding land is leased to a developer, according to an appraisal commissioned by the city of Anaheim that was released Friday.
The appraisal could help the Angels and the city agree on how much money Anaheim should get in a new stadium lease deal with the team. Yet the appraisal also could harden the stances of Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who considers the proposed deal a taxpayer giveaway, and the Angels, who have considered walking away from the idea of developing any land surrounding Angel Stadium and simply focusing on whether to renovate the ballpark or build a new one elsewhere.
The highest value for the land, according to the appraisal, would come if the Angels move out and the city could sell the entire 153-acre site. If the Angels stay, the appraisal assumes the 133 acres surrounding the stadium would be developed but does not assume the team would be the developer. Tait and other city officials say they want the Angels to stay.
The Angels’ current lease requires the city to provide 12,500 surface parking spaces. The appraised values assume an agreement to convert at least some of those spaces to parking structures. No such agreement is in place.
In a letter to the city last week, Angels President John Carpino said he was concerned because an appraisal that did not consider the Angels’ parking rights and capital contribution to Angel Stadium could produce an unreasonably high value and “lead to an unworkable situation.” The appraisal expressly omits any consideration of the costs of stadium renovation.
Angels fan Cynthia Ward has already chimed in about this via the comments section. She writes:
“Arte is producing smoke screens because when the appraisals come out tomorrow, they are clearly not going to be favorable to him. Gee, what could be the problem? Do you think maybe the appraiser documented in black and white for the world to see that prime real estate nestled in the elbow of major freeways, directly up the street from a draw for 20 million annual visitors, on unpolluted land that doesn’t need to be cleaned up (hello Great Park) and fully entitled for over a million sq. ft of new development just MIGHT be worth more without a Stadium and its parking encumbrances on it? As it stands now nobody wants to buy the lofts in the area, and the office building is so empty they are giving away subsidized space to the drowning-in-red-ink Chamber of Commerce in desperation to get ANYONE in there. It turns out people do NOT want to try functioning day to day around traffic jams, exhaust fumes, and loudspeakers. So yeah, I think Arte knows the appraisal shows Anaheim is WAY better off without his subsidy sucking team on that property and he is terrified, and willing to use whatever distractions he can to keep people from thinking this through logically. His only hope is to trust that Anaheim loves our team more than we resent the owner who mocked us and took advantage of us. Maybe we do, but we are not going to lose our minds over that fandom either.
Perhaps Ms. Ward, who is one of the people who run the “Keep the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” ought to start a new page of “Buh-bye Angels.” Congrats on breaking 1,400 “likes” and thanks for banning me from commenting; Jason Young is one of the other site administrators who frequently complains about censorship despite being a hypocrite. And the office building she talks about might have some vacancies, because the rent is a little pricey, and its not empty by any stretch.
We have a copy of the appraisal’s executive summary and you can read it here.
What’s missing from the equation is any plan of what would be developed on the Stadium site and by whom. The city has had nearly 50 years of failed ideas for developing the area without a single idea becoming reality. If Tait truly wants the Angels to stay, playing hardball seems an odd choice. But then again, the Mayor’s kids who now have financial interest in property near Angels Stadium, can get rich off of land that their dad transferred ownership to would have a higher value without a baseball team.
What’s curious is there is still undeveloped land near Angels Stadium that’s still unsold and undeveloped, and there isn’t a line of developers waiting to take advantage of that land. Without a developer or series of developers expressing interest in the Stadium site for private development, all Tait has is an appraisal of what it’s worth without a team. Subtract the cost of demolishing a stadium that can range from $15 million to $50 million (depending on the materials that need to be disposed of) that is completely the city’s financial burden, and the difference lessens to a degree. But the Angels talking with other communities simply demonstrates that there are options other than Anaheim no matter what the “Angels aren’t going anywhere” crowd has to say.
But heck, if Tait has a plan for getting rid of the Angels, making his kids rich, and bringing the team to Irvine, let’s hear it. I’m perfectly OK with the LA Angels building a new park, creating hundreds if not thousands of union jobs, and playing in my city. But Mayor Steven Choi may have some concerns about Feng Shui of the new ballpark you know.