The land at the center of a controversial new Angel Stadium lease framework is worth between $225 million and $325 million, according to a city commissioned appraisal released late last week.
Last year, Anaheim City Council last year voted 4-1, with Mayor Tom Tait dissenting, to approve a framework to lease the land for $1 annually for 66 years to Angels baseball team owner Arte Moreno and a group of investors. Moreno would develop the property and use the revenue to finance up to $150 million in stadium renovations.
Almost immediately, a chorus of critics, led by Tait, derided the deal as a giveaway of public assets to a billionaire team owner. The mayor has insisted all along that the land is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and he says a fair deal would be a 50/50 split in development revenue between the city and Moreno.
Tait also points out that Moreno is already obligated to make the renovations under the current lease. Meanwhile, members of the council majority have maintained that the framework is just the starting point for negotiations.
Subsequent to the lease framework proposal, the city ordered an appraisal of the land, which the City Council, bowing to public pressure, voted to release late last month.
The appraisal lists different values for the land depending on two different sets of scenarios.
Under the first scenario, the Angels remain at the stadium, meaning the appraisal takes into account the team’s rights to 12,500 parking spaces, making development more difficult and expensive. The second outlines the land value should the team relocate.
With the Angels remaining in the stadium, the land is worth $245 million in a sale and $225 million under a lease. If the Angels left, the land would be worth $325 million in a sale and $300 million under a lease.
The appraisal’s release has already had impact on the negotiations. Team President John Carpino sent a letter to the city saying public knowledge of the appraisal would hurt the negotiations, which have already turned sour, because the public would misunderstand the information.
And on the day the appraisal was released, the Angels announced that they are in talks with FivePoint Communities, which is developing 688 acres of the Great Park in Irvine, for a possible stadium at the park.
And Councilwoman Kris Murray, considered the leader of Anaheim's council majority, released a statement calling on the city to ink a deal with the Angels.
“We have the framework in front of us that keeps the team in Anaheim, renovates an old stadium, and doesn’t impact our taxpayers. Its time to get a deal done that’s real, with real benefits,” reads part of the statement.
Meanwhile, council members in Irvine are skeptical regarding Moreno’s intentions.
“Since they have not contacted me directly, I have no reason to believe that they have an interest in moving to the Great Park,” said Councilman Jeff Lalloway. “With that said, I’m open to discussions for any public-private partnership at the Great Park.”
Councilman Larry Agran said he would be against any public subsidies of a stadium.
“Absolutely against them,” Agran said, adding that professional sports stadiums sound good for a city at first, but soon lose their luster with things like major traffic impacts. “I like professional sports, but that’s very different than whether or not you’re the host city with a stadium and all of that implies.”
Anaheim Council is set to discuss the appraisal at Tuesday night’s council meeting.