Report: Angels offer to buy stadium and surrounding land from Anaheim for $325m, so is this a good deal or what?

The Anaheim city council met last night to go over the Los Angeles Angels stadium renovation and lease extension plan, and came out promising to finally reveal the city’s land valuation of the Angel Stadium site that team owner Arte Moreno wants to develop. Only somebody jumped the gun and leaked details of the team’s actual offer to the O.C. Register:

Anaheim’s hometown baseball team would continue playing in Angel Stadium for another 30 years, and the city would sell the stadium and 133 acres around it to a business partnership including team owner Arte Moreno for about $325 million, under the proposed outline of a deal that Anaheim City Council members were briefed on Tuesday, Dec. 3…

“For every fan who told us to keep the Angels, this proposal would do exactly that,” Mayor Harry Sidhu said in a statement. “This proposal reflects what we’ve heard from the community – keep the Angels, a fair land price, money for neighborhoods, ongoing revenue, affordable housing, parks and jobs for Anaheim.”…

Angels officials are still considering whether to renovate the stadium or build a new one, team spokeswoman Marie Garvey said. They’ve hired HKS Architects – which designed Minneapolis’ recently opened NFL stadium and is working on a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers – to explore their options.

Okay, so would it actually be a fair land price? There are still a bunch of big questions that the Register story leaves unanswered:

  • What’s the land valuation on that appraisal? The last appraisal, in 2014, came up with a figure of $325 million, so this would seem to be slightly light given inflation in the real estate market since then, but in the (sorry) ballpark. But we should know more this afternoon.
  • Would selling the land mean no more rent payments from the team to the city? Though given that the city gets pretty much nothing from the stadium now, that’s not much of a loss.
  • If the Angels are outright buying the land, does this mean they’d start paying property taxes on it? If so, this could be a huge benefit for Anaheim; if not, then that’s a tax break there, friends.
  • The Register writes that “the [affordable] housing and parks would be given a dollar value that would be subtracted from the land’s selling price” — so does this mean that the team can build affordable housing and parks on its land and claim this as an in-kind payment to reduce its land price? If so, who’s going to be determining that dollar value, and what recourse is there if Moreno tries to claim this his parks are so nice that they’re worth $325 million?

The Register gives no indication of whether its reporters saw the actual agreement or just got some cherry-picked highlights (the only sourcing note is to “city information”), so it’s really tough to know if we’re getting the whole picture here, or just the PR spin. More tomorrow morning after the appraisal is out and I’ve had time to read it, because that’s what journalists are supposed to do, read source materials and report back what they find, or at least so I always thought.

UPDATE: Spencer Custodio of Voice of OC points out that this entire story is apparently sourced to a three-page fact sheet on the city of Anaheim’s website, which is exactly as undetailed as you’d expect a three-page city fact sheet to be. Questions above answered: zero.


6 comments on “Report: Angels offer to buy stadium and surrounding land from Anaheim for $325m, so is this a good deal or what?

  1. I seem to recall that the mooted value of the parking lots for commercial development was considerably more than the Angels are offering… though as you say we haven’t seen the actual valuation yet.

    At least they are willing to pay something for the land… that is a start. Wasn’t their original offer “Give us the parking lots and we’ll direct any development profits into stadium improvements” or something close to that?

    My assumption would be that if they are effectively BUYING the stadium and land it sits on, they would not continue to pay any kind of rent. I would also assume that, sports related extortion being what it is, they might agree to pay property taxes on the non-stadium developments but won’t on the stadium (existing or new) itself.

    In other sports franchise related extortion news…
    https://www.cbc.ca/sports/baseball/mlb/rays-montreal-split-season-rejection-1.5384498#

  2. Anyone know what Anaheim’s fiscal situation is? Even if the value is say $350 million people maybe getting $325 million right now is a good deal for the city

    • It’s possible… and maybe it’s a sign of how successful the sports extortion game has become, but to me just selling them the site for anything close to market value and being done with them for 35 years (or whatever) has value in itself.

      Of course, we’ve seen franchises with decades long deals in hand come back to the well half way through same, so perhaps that isn’t any kind of meaningful guarantee either.

      I’ve no idea if the city will do it, but selling them the site for the value of the presently undeveloped land, throwing the stadium in and including a proviso that the current or future stadium won’t be taxed but any commercial development (inside or outside the stadium boundary) will be subject to property taxation would be reasonable I think.

      • I don’t know if its extortion as much as expediency. If you have a rental property and your tenant offers to buy it from you and the offer is somewhere near what you think its worth and you avoid all the other hassles. In this case they get to keep having a baseball team in the city some more development on top of a $325 million check (assuming its all up front)