Waiting game continues for Anaheim, Long Beach as Angels decide site of future stadium

For those hoping that July would bring some clarity to where the Los Angeles Angels will be playing in the future, the wait will continue.

The City of Anaheim, the current home of the team, is still awaiting the results of an appraisal its City Council ordered last year, one that was expected to be completed by June. But a representative from the city said that the results of the appraisal have yet to come back and a public discussion of the results is not imminent.

A previous appraisal revealed in 2014 showed that the lot was worth about $225 million to $245 million to the city if it remained a baseball stadium and could be worth upward of $325 million if it were sold for use as residential, commercial and office use, something the 150-acre property is already zoned for.

In an email, Anaheim chief communications officer Mike Lyster said that a significant public discussion about the stadium site isn’t anticipated in the upcoming weeks or even months.

However, he added that the city could meet with representatives from the team over the next few weeks to discuss potential next steps for an agreement but those discussions would be held in closed session to discuss real estate-related matters.

“We are looking for progress by year’s end,” Lyster said.

The Long Beach City Council has had just one closed session meeting with team representatives, which happened in March, a month after the Post reported that the city was courting the Angels. Anaheim has since taken a number of more concrete steps toward sealing a deal with the team.

The Angels enlisted the services of a design firm Brooks-Street to look at developing the 150-acre lot in Anaheim and the city has since hired CAA ICON, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm to help with negotiations between the city and the Angels.

Dan Barrett, the executive vice president of the firm, has worked in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, San Diego and Sacramento as either a consultant to those cities or the sports franchises that ended up constructing new stadiums there.

Long Beach city spokesman Kevin Lee said that the city’s interest in a stadium development in Downtown Long Beach “remains strong” and that any deal of this magnitude would include a long-term process with open public dialogue.

“We expect our preliminary investigation of this concept will continue through 2019,” Lee said. “The Angels have some near-term decisions to make regarding Anaheim and their current lease. Those short-term time pressures are not a factor in Long Beach.”

Lee said it is too soon to tell if the Long Beach City Council will meet again, in public or in closed session, to discuss the issue before the end of the year. City documents revealed earlier this year that building a new stadium in Long Beach on the Elephant Lot could cost more than $1.1 billion.

Anaheim says that details on a new a potential agreement could be announced in late 2019 or early 2020.

Whichever city the Angels end up choosing for their new stadium, the designs will likely include more than just a new ballpark.

In a May opinion piece in the Orange County Register, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu vowed that if the project ends up in Anaheim it would include elements that would benefit the city’s tax base outside of sports-related events.

“Our theme parks, sports venues and convention center are a matter of pride,” Sidhu wrote. “But their real purpose is to serve residents by generating revenue for public safety, parks, libraries and community centers and by helping us keep taxes and fees low.”

A new stadium complex for the Angels could include construction of hotels, restaurants, office space and residential units much like other developments across the United States. In the Spring 2019 edition of Anaheim Magazine the city pointed to LA Live; the soon-to-open complex outside of Dallas, Texas recently completed for the Texas Rangers; and the new home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Golden 1 Center.

Sidhu also wrote that the city would likely not lease the land to the Angels for $1 per year as it had under the previous lease agreement, one that saw the city net less than $1 million in revenue annually since the 2009-2010 season.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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