Palm Beach gets better offer for stadium site, newspaper makes sad face

One of the complaints that I and other subsidy critics like to levy at stadium plans is that localities seldom examine the but-for: What else could be done with the land, money, and political time and energy that might be more productive than a sports facility? Fortunately for Palm Beach County, Florida, a developer has just done this for its plan to build new spring training facilities for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, offering to pay the city of West Palm Beach $14 million for its land and not demand tens of millions of dollars in subsidies like the stadium project would.

This, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, is a terrible roadblock:

New obstacles surface for county baseball stadium proposal

(Okay, the Sun-Sentinel is also reporting on county officials raising concerns about the cost of the spring training plan, which could reasonably be seen as an obstacle. Still, it’s a bit odd that the headline writer didn’t go with something a bit less “Oh, noes!” in the headline, like, say, “County officials wonder if there might be a better deal than baseball.”)

4 comments on “Palm Beach gets better offer for stadium site, newspaper makes sad face

  1. My favorite part: “They also warn that without attracting more spring training teams to the area, the county is at risk of eventually losing the Marlins and Cardinals to other areas.” No.

  2. Losing the Marlins and Cards is not an idle threat, that will absolutely happen if this deal falls through.

    I wonder if these county officials speak with anyone in Brevard, Kissimmee, Houston, or DC before voting to gift these guys a nine figure ballpark? The Brevard County officials pretty much hate dealing with the Nats at this point. In DC they demand that the city pays for things like keeping Metro open that all of the other sports teams pay for while at the same time asking for more money to build a roof on the ballpark.

  3. Can you believe the gall of these small time local politicians?

    From Florida Today:

    Palm Beach Commissioner Jess Santamaria said there “needs to be an independent, third-party analysis,” rather than a study provided by the teams. “The future risk is too heavy on the taxpayers’ side,” he said. “I’m not prepared to make a decision today.”

    Astros owner Jim Crane defended the teams’ economic impact study. “We’re not trying to jade the numbers,” Crane said.

  4. From the Palm Beach Post:

    “It appears as though the teams have taken the state’s $50 million grant and simply added it on top of what they would have otherwise asked the county to support. So the teams get a nicer facility, but the local government saves nothing.”