The Tustin city council had its latest closed-door meeting about building a stadium for the Los Angeles Angels last night, and … it was behind closed doors, so we don’t actually know what they talked about.
We do know, however, what they’re thinking. City Manager Jeffrey Parker:
“For us, [the biggest question is] how the financing would be put together to make this happen,” Parker said…
In Anaheim, an appraiser valued the land in question at $225 million. Parker said the Tustin land could be worth a similar amount and said the city would expect to make back that amount on any land provided to the Angels, most likely from lease payments or a share of development profits.
“We want to protect that $200 million,” Parker said. “We want a rate of return on that land value.”
That’s pretty huge: Parker is saying that not only would Angels owner Arte Moreno have to pay for his own stadium costs, but he’d have to reimburse Tustin for the value of the land it would be giving up. Since that’s pretty much the same deal that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is asking for — and which Moreno dismissed as “going backwards” — this bidding war isn’t going at all how the Angels owner must have wanted it to.
This is actually a pretty remarkable moment: Two local elected officials demanding that their cities actually get something significant in return for helping out with a stadium, instead of the usual reaction of asking when to jump and how high. It’s too soon to tell if this will start a trend, or will even hold up — the traditional response from team owners is to wait until somebody more amenable to their demands is elected to public office — but it’s sure fun to watch while it lasts.