We’re still somewhat in the tea-leaf-reading stage, but all signs are pointing to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno and the city of Anaheim rebooting their earlier plan to fund stadium renovations by letting Moreno develop the stadium’s city-owned parking lot. To wit:
After meeting with Angels baseball representatives Monday, March 18, Anaheim officials said they expect the team to make a proposal to stay in its longtime home stadium within two to four months.
Ahead of their negotiations with the city of Anaheim to sign a long-term lease, the Los Angeles Angels have hired a real estate consulting company to explore development options on the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Which is all fine! The problem with the previous plan — and the reason that then-mayor Tom Tait nixed it — is that Moreno wanted to pay all of $1 for the land, which turned out to actually be worth $245 million. Presumably you’d want Moreno to pay somewhere closer to, oh, $245 million as part of any deal, then; Anaheim is currently conducting a fresh appraisal of the parking lot parcels, which may be what Moreno is waiting for before presenting his new plan.
The wild card here is, as it often is, vague threats to move the team if the owner doesn’t get his way. A luxury housing developer is reportedly set to be part of a stadium plan for the Angels in Long Beach, though the Long Beach Post really might have wanted to ask him where on earth he would put luxury housing on a site that’s already too small for a baseball stadium. At least Anaheim councilmember Jose Moreno was appropriately dismissive of Long Beach as a threat — “Let’s not be fooled into believing that we’re negotiating against another city,” he said at a Tuesday council meeting — but you still have to worry that councilmembers will end up doing exactly that, and give away the store. Seriously, look at this Google Maps mashup, guys! If you tell Arte Moreno to pay full land value or else pound sand, he may have to literally pound sand if he wants to find another place to play.