Angels owner gripes about incomplete review process for neighboring developer, irony is dead

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.

8 comments on “Angels owner gripes about incomplete review process for neighboring developer, irony is dead

  1. I’d say that the development plans going before the Planning Commission and City Council offer a great chance for public review. And since LT Global isn’t building a sports stadium, the chances of them getting around any kind of environmental review seem slim.

  2. OK, hypocrisy and all of that aside, Anaheim is really trying eh to exploit Moreno.

    LT Global bought their land for $28.3 million. Anaheim slapped a $245 million value on the land Moreno wanted to develop. So, essentially, Anaheim is jacking up the price of the city-owned parking lot land because it’s closer to the stadium.

    Anaheim is basically admitting what I already knew and what most people on this site deny (that a sports stadium stimulates value in everything around it), so at least that’s a good thing.

    • LT Global bought 15 acres for $28.6 million. Moreno wanted 150 acres, and Anaheim said that was worth $240 million. How is this jacking up?

      • It would be a shame in today’s world if developers couldn’t get land at the lower-than-market price they want.

  3. This whole thing is strange. The sticking point that led to Mayor Tait taking a hard stance seems to be the difference between the $245 million land value and the $150 million in expected renovations. But before the appraisal the Angels had been publicly saying they were going to do a $300 million renovation. $150 million would have only been enough to do the necessary structural, electrical, plumbing, etc.. renovations. I don’t see why Arte would bother going through all this trouble just to do basic structural renovations and not do anything cosmetic or revenue increasing as well.

    So why haven’t both sides been more clear about the actual scope and cost of renovations?

    • Where are you getting that Moreno was proposing $300m in renovations? I’m seeing $130-150m, going all the way back to late 2013, which was well before the appraisal.

      • Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t said publicly then.

        Back 2013 I got to have an on field meet and greet with Howie Kendrick and was given a private stadium tour from a front office official (thanks to BofA MLB credit card points!). During the tour he told me the team planned a $300+ million renovation that included structural and cosmetic upgrades including completely redoing the entire outfield stands. It sounded very exciting at the time. That must be why I have that number in my head.

        Still it is strange then that the only 2 options would be a completely new stadium or only internal structural upgrades to the current one.

        • “A front office official” was probably somebody in sales, marketing, and/or PR. Best file that $300 million number under “fiction”, I think. I just went to an Angel game last Monday-cosmetically, the place looked great, including the left field pavilion, where our tickets were.