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Angels talk with developer about potential Irvine ballpark

Angel Stadium of Anaheim

The Angels have met with the developer of the Orange County Great Park property to see whether the construction of a new ballpark might be feasible on that Irvine site.

The news comes the day before the city of Anaheim is set to release an appraisal of the Angel Stadium property. The Angels have grown frustrated over negotiations for a deal that would keep the team in Anaheim for the long term, and Angels executives have opened discussions for potential alternative sites in Tustin and now Irvine.

The Irvine City Council agreed last November to let FivePoint Communities build 688 acres of the Great Park in exchange for permission to build 4,606 homes nearby, with both projects on land formerly used as a Marine Corps air base. The property is near the intersection of the 5 and 405 freeways -- the  "El Toro Y" -- with an adjacent train station.

"The Angels have met with FivePoint Communities as part of exploring our options," team spokeswoman Marie Garvey said Thursday.

FivePoint spokesman Aaron Curtiss declined to comment.

It is unclear whether FivePoint has any interest in putting a ballpark on the 688-acre site. The Angel Stadium site covers about 155 acres, with about 20 of those for the stadium itself.

Craig Reem, spokesman for the city of Irvine, said the city has heard "not a peep" about any talks between the Angels and FivePoint but said the development plan pitched to the city earlier by FivePoint covers almost all of those 688 acres. The proposed uses include a 188-acre golf course, a wildlife corridor, and a 176-acre recreational sports complex -- "twice the size of Disneyland," as The Times reported in November.

The Angels continue to consider the Tustin site. However, the location they initially preferred – on the northeast part of the property, across from a train station and near the intersection of the 5 Freeway and Jamboree Road – is targeted for other uses, Tustin City Manager Jeffrey Parker said.

Parker said the Angels could consider land on the western end of the property, along Red Hill Avenue, closer to the 55 Freeway.

The Angels can opt out of their lease in Anaheim as soon as 2016. Angels owner Arte Moreno almost certainly would have to pay all the costs of a new ballpark elsewhere in Southern California.

"It's the right of any businessman with an out clause to look at his options," Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said. "I happen to believe his best option by far is Anaheim."

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