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Volume 24 No. 117
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Braves Get Final Approval To Relocate Spring Training To North Port, Build $100M Complex

The Braves are "officially relocating" their Spring Training to a new ballpark complex in North Port, Fla., after the plan yesterday "received its final public approval from the North Port City Commission," according to a front-page piece by Zach Murdock of the Sarasota HERALD-TRIBUNE. The commission narrowly voted 3-2 to "approve the last major piece needed to finalize" the $100M deal. The approval "paves the way for initial construction work to begin on the site almost immediately." It will be a "feverish dash to turn the almost 100 acres of ranch land" into a full ballpark complex in time for Spring Training in February '19. The campus will include an 8,000-seat ballpark with six "full-sized practice fields, a public plaza, an eventual year-round player development academy and five multi-purpose fields for overflow parking." Although the final price tag is "considerably higher" than the roughly $75M estimate "initially cited, the team will pick up the remainder of the tab." The Braves' obligations include almost $37.5M in "debt payments" on the ballpark over the next 30 years and another $18M in "architecture, engineering and construction" (Sarasota HERALD-TRIBUNE, 9/20). In Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes the Braves "expect to offset some of their costs by selling naming rights" to the ballpark. Five other teams train "within an hour's drive of the Braves' new location" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/20). L.A.-based law firm O'Melveny & Myers, together with local co-counsel, represented the West Villages Improvement District in the negotiation of an agreement for the development of the complex. O'Melveny was led by Partner Irwin Raij and included Partner Daniel Cantor, Counsel Alexander Chester and Associate Daryl Steiger (O'Melveny).