Could Angels put Irvine into play for stadium?

Is it Anaheim or Tustin for the Angels?

The mayor of Tustin does not believe that. It has been only a week since Angels owner Arte Moreno met with Tustin officials about the possibility of moving his team there, and yet Tustin Mayor Al Murray said late Tuesday he had heard that Moreno had talked with the city of Irvine as well.

There have been no discussions between the Angels and Irvine, representatives for both sides said Wednesday.

"The Angels have not met with the city of Irvine at this time," Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said. "We are looking at several options in Orange County."

Because most California cities no longer pay to build venues for professional sports teams, Moreno's best bet might be to pay the stadium cost and hope to recoup the investment from surrounding development.

That is the framework of a deal in Anaheim, where Moreno could renovate Angel Stadium at a fraction of the cost of a new stadium elsewhere. The only apparent areas in central Orange County with room to accommodate a new ballpark and adjacent large-scale development: the land on closed military bases in Tustin and Irvine, the latter site now popularly known as the Great Park.

The map above shows the two areas on the Tustin site about which the Angels initially inquired, Tustin City Manager Jeffrey Parker said. After the meeting with Moreno, Parker said, the Angels are most interested in the larger site, with the hope that surrounding parcels could be included.

The Tustin and Irvine sites are governed by land plans that would need to be changed in order to accommodate a ballpark. In Tustin, homes and an elementary school are planned for the larger site shown above.

In Irvine, "the master plan for the Great Park does not contemplate in any way a sports stadium," city spokesman Craig Reem said.

The land plans in either city could take years to change; Moreno has said he would need four to five years to complete the process of building a new ballpark. That means the option to move to Tustin -- and possibly Irvine -- could not have been taken seriously had the Anaheim City Council not voted to extend the deadline for Moreno to opt out of his current lease from 2016 to 2019.

Shaiken writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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