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Angels consultant Marie Garvey on Saturday confirmed that team Owner Arte Moreno "met with officials from the City of Tustin last week to discuss the possibility" of building a new ballpark there, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. TIMES. Moreno on Friday said negotiations for a new lease at Angel Stadium are "at a stalemate." He is "clearly frustrated by Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait's reluctance to accept a proposal" in which the Angels would spend $150M to renovate the ballpark in exchange for a 66-year, $1-a-year lease to develop 155 acres of land in the parking lot. Garvey "would not elaborate on details of the Tustin meeting, and she described talks with the city as being 'in the infancy stage.'" Garvey when asked if the meeting was a negotiating ploy to put pressure on Anaheim replied, "Absolutely not. We're taking a serious look at all of our options." She "would not say whether Moreno has met with any other cities to explore stadium construction." The team's current lease expires in '29, but an "out clause allows the Angels to leave any time" between October '16 and October '19 with 12 months notice. Moreno said that it "would take four to five years to complete the process" of building a new ballpark (L.A. TIMES, 2/16).
HE SAID, HE SAID: Moreno: "I’m really frustrated. ... Somewhere along the line, we’re going to have to make a decision." Tait: "The existing lease that we’re operating under offers the Angels an incredibly good deal. They play in one of the best venues in baseball and I don’t know where they could get a better deal" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/15). Moreno: "In September, we thought we had a good outline for a deal … but the reality is, we have not been able to get it done. Somewhere along the line, there has to be a partnership." Tait objected to the team's new proposal "and has been rallying opposition to it because he thinks the city should at least split profits from any parking-lot development." Moreno: "We don’t know how long it’s going to take for that land to be profitable. We have the fourth-oldest stadium in baseball. It still has the original plumbing, electrical, concrete." Moreno was asked if he had a deadline to walk away from negotiations with the city and responded, "I have one in my mind. Put it this way. We’re way past the time this should have happened." Moreno also talked about the perception that the Angels are "unwilling to move their luxury-tax payroll" beyond the $189M threshold. Moreno: "The reality is we have an operating budget below the threshold, we made money last year, and we’re not interested in being in the red financially." The team's luxury-tax payroll "currently stands" at around $173M (L.A. TIMES, 2/15).
ANGELS PLAYING DIRTY? In California, T.J. Simers wrote under the header, "Moreno Using Fear To Get His Way." Simers: "I appreciate the Angels wanting to provide 'certainty for our fans,' but I think everyone is already certain they are dealing with a bully" when it comes to Moreno. However, four of the five Anaheim Council members "are up for election [in '14], including the Mayor, and I fear they will be working harder to please Angels fans than [LF] Josh Hamilton" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/16).
David Beckham's group that is trying to bring an MLS expansion team to Miami is "exploring the feasibility of building a soccer stadium that would be large enough to accommodate" the Univ. of Miami football team, and UM "would have interest if the stadium meets the school’s requirements and if the Hurricanes can somehow escape their long Sun Life Stadium lease," according to sources cited by Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Beckham's group and UM "have had preliminary discussions, but the Beckham camp and MLS likely need a couple of months to determine whether it’s realistic." UM "needs a stadium with at least 40,000 seats to accommodate Hurricanes games; Beckham’s group initially has spoken of having 25,000." UM also would "need the stadium to have sufficient parking, large enough locker-rooms and enough suites." Though Beckham "likes the idea, there are significant obstacles that could torpedo a UM/MLS shared facility." Perhaps the "biggest: UM would need to negotiate to escape the 18 remaining years on its lease with Sun Life Stadium." It is "unclear" how much Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross "would seek financially to permit UM to do that." Another "potential obstacle: Beckham must find a site big enough to accommodate a 40,000-seat stadium and the expected traffic." UM "isn’t unhappy at Sun Life but would be intrigued by the possibility of playing in a more cozy facility that’s closer to campus." UM "is not interested in financing the stadium; that has not been discussed." Meanwhile, Heat F LeBron James on Friday was asked if he will be involved in Beckham's group and responded, "Right now we're not, but it's still open" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/16).
PORT OF CALL: In Miami, Douglas Hanks wrote under the header, "Beckham's Soccer Plans Conflict With PortMiami's Business Plan." The nine acres Beckham "wants near the shallows of PortMiami’s southwest corner would upend the port’s own detailed plans for millions of dollars in new real estate income from a proposed trade and tourism center that could contain as much as 7 million square feet of new revenue-generating space." The "controversial venture, opposed by Miami’s commercial real estate industry, was designed to help PortMiami create a new profit source as it manages a debt load quickly nearing" $1B (MIAMI HERALD, 2/16).