Three years ago, Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno asked the city of Anaheim to give him development rights to his stadium parking lot in exchange for him making stadium upgrades, only to be forced to back down when an appraisal revealed he’d be getting $245 million in land and spending only $150 million on renovations. Last year, Moreno griped that a Chinese developer, LT Global, was looking at building a privately funded mixed-use development on land it had bought across the street from the stadium, because he was afraid it would use his parking. On Wednesday, team officials intimated that they would sue unless the LT Global project went through a full environmental impact study:
The demand, contained in the second hostile letter from Angels lawyers to the city within two weeks, comes as the team and city have revived talks on a lease that would extend the Angels’ tenure at the city-owned stadium.
Last week, the Anaheim Planning Commission, over the Angels’ objections, unanimously endorsed a 15-acre complex of shops, restaurants, offices, residences and a hotel on the site next to Angel Stadium.
The Anaheim City Council has final say on the project and could vote to approve it as soon as Sept. 27. In the letter, Angels attorney George Mihlsten said the planning commission approved the project with “very limited environmental review and no opportunity for public review,” and he asked the council to order a new environmental impact report.
Couple of things here: First off, whatever the merits of the dispute (public review is a good thing), it remains hilarious to see a would-be developer complaining about the insufficiency of an EIS, given that you know Mihlsten would be saying the exact opposite if Moreno were the one looking to build this project. Second, that “revived talks on a lease” clause may not be just a news peg — when you’re at the lease negotiating table, everything is up for grabs, and trading off “we won’t sue the developers next door” for something is, at the very least, a bargaining chip that Moreno will want to explore. Mayor Tom Tait and his negotiators have their work cut out for them.