Results tagged ‘ Palm Beach county ’
The Astros cleared a major hurdle in relocating their Spring Training operations to Palm Beach County, Florida, on Tuesday when county commissioners voted to approve a financing plan for a new facility the club will share with the Nationals. The teams have 90 days to find a location for the complex.
County commissioners voted, 5-2, to allocate $108 million in hotel tax revenue for the facility, which will cost $135 million to build. The Astros have two years remaining on their lease at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla., and are aiming to hold their first Spring Training in south Florida by 2017.
“We still have a little bit of work to do to find the right location, but the funding for it has been approved,” Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe said.
Kibbe said the Astros are considering a list of four or five potential sites, one of which will not be a 160-acre spot in West Palm Beach where the teams were hoping to build. The county compiled a list of potential sites earlier this year.
“We have several locations that we’re looking at,” Kibbe said. “We just need to figure out which one is the best location for everyone involved, the teams, the county and the communities. But there are multiples sites to look at and I’ll get to work on that evaluation and hopefully get this moving forward was quickly as possible. Today was important in that the financing has been approved and we’re ready to go.”
By moving to south Florida, the Astros and Nationals would give the area five teams during Spring Training. The Cardinals and Marlins share a site in Jupiter, which is in northern Palm Beach County, and the Mets are in Port St. Lucie, which is 33 miles north of Jupiter.
The Astros have held Spring Training at Osceola County Stadium since 1985 and will likely have only two years remaining there before moving south. The Nationals have held Spring Training at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., since they moved from Montreal in 2005.
“The timing of it depends on what happens as far as how quickly we move forward with the location and when the construction will start,” Kibbe said. “It’s a little up in the air as to when the facility would open. If we find a suitable location we’ll start moving as quick as we can. I’m just not sure when construction will start. Our plan is to try to get the new facility open in January of 2017.”
Astros owner Jim Crane said he is scheduled to meet with Palm Beach County officials on Thursday to be presented with three possible Spring Training locations within the county.
The Astros, whose contract at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla., expires at the end of 2016, would like to relocate their spring camp to Palm Beach County and have had recent talks with the Nationals about building a two-team facility in the area. Crane said the Blue Jays remain an option, though he hasn’t talked to them lately.
The team had hoped to build a facility with the Blue Jays in Palm Beach Gardens, but it hit a roadblock when citizens voiced concern over traffic.
“If we’re going to do something, we really have to have a deal signed by the end of this year to make sure have time to get something built,” Crane said. “That’s kind of the timetable. I think everybody’s leaning in and the last location got a little resistance from the locals. We think it’s still a good location, but we’ll have to see what they have to present with us.”
Having the Astros and one other club share a facility in Palm Beach County would give the area five teams and bring some financial incentives from the state. That being said, Crane said remaining in Kissimmee would be an option if there are some improvements, and he said the team could look to move its spring operations to Arizona as well.
“We knew we had some time when we started [looking for a new site] last year, and I think the next six months we need to get something signed if we want to make a move,” he said. “Certainly, we’d like to stay there and there might be some upgrades there, but we’re still looking at Arizona. All the doors are open, and we hope one of them shuts.”
Crane was given a tour of Tradition Field on Tuesday by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.
“This one has been here a while, and they’ve done a nice job of maintaining it and have some great common areas,” he said. “It looks like a very nice park.”
The Astros and the Nationals could possibly share a Spring Training site in Palm Beach County, Fla., the team’s general counsel said Tuesday.
Giles Kibbe, who’s spearheading the team’s efforts to relocate its Spring Training operations from Kissimmee, Fla., following the 2016 season, said he met with Palm Beach County representatives last week and has also a brief conversation with the Nationals.
“I know that the Washington Nationals have now expressed an interest in moving down to Palm Beach County and they’ve met with Palm Beach County representatives, so we’re just kind of looking forward to seeing the different potential site sand trying to make this happen,” Kibbe said.
Kibbe said the team is going to meet again in a couple of weeks to look at some potential sites and to discuss some financing issues.
The Astros had hoped to build a two-team facility to share with the Blue Jays in Palm Beach Gardens, but that plan fell through following stiff opposition from residents. The team has since explored other options in Palm Beach County – its preferred location – and even Arizona.
“I know that Palm Beach County has met with the Nationals,” Kibbe said. “I don’t know if they’ve met with the Blue Jays recently, so I don’t know where the Blue Jays stand on this.”
The Astros’ lease at Osceola County Stadium expires at the end of 2016, so construction on a new site would have to begin by the end of this year for completion in January 2017. The Astros prefer a two-team facility for financial reasons.
The Nationals would like to leave Viera, Fla., and put their spring site closer to other teams. Their lease at Space Coast Stadium expires at the end of 2017.