Could the city of Anaheim kick the Angels out of their stadium next year if the two sides fail to agree on a new lease?
As it turns out, no.
Councilman Jose Moreno was surprised to hear that. At Tuesday’s Anaheim City Council meeting, Moreno said the one-year lease extension the council approved in January did not mean the current lease would expire when the extension does.
As a result, the Angels have three options on the table, not two. In addition to choosing between a new or renovated stadium in Anaheim or a proposed waterfront ballpark in Long Beach, the Angels could simply play out their current Angel Stadium lease, which extends through 2029.
That last option effectively reduces the city’s leverage, since it cannot threaten to kick out the Angels after the 2020 season and sell the stadium property.
“This is an opportunity to do a new deal,” city manager Chris Zapata said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”
Moreno said the City Council discussed its just-obtained appraisal for the property on Tuesday, albeit in a closed session. The city has not yet made the appraisal public but has promised to do so before a vote on any deal with the Angels.
A 2014 appraisal valued the 155-acre site at $225 million if the Angels stayed in the stadium and leased the parking lots for development and $325 million if the ballpark were demolished and the entire property sold for development. City negotiators have not said whether the Angels would have to pay full market price for the land; a 2013 proposal that would have enabled them to rent the land for $1 per year collapsed.
The city’s pitch to the Angels: You develop the property, and you can make more than enough money to redo the stadium or put up a new one.
Zapata said that he expected to receive an initial proposal from the Angels within 60 days. He also said the city had retained Larry Kosmont, a Manhattan Beach-based real estate advisor. Kosmont’s company has worked on such projects as the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and Seaport Village in San Diego, according to the company website.
The Angels have retained Brooks Street, a Newport Beach-based real estate company that helped plan a $500-million project adjacent to Angel Stadium that includes a hotel, shops, restaurants, offices and residences. The project, on the corner of State College and Orangewood, has been approved by the city but has not broken ground.
Under the current lease, as adopted in 1996 and modified in 2013, the Angels could opt out with a year’s notice. The Angels exercised their opt-out clause last year, meaning they had no place to play after this season.
The one-year extension does not mean the Angels’ lease expires in 2020. Instead, the extension essentially applies to the opt-out clause, meaning the Angels can either opt out by Dec. 31 and leave after the 2020 season, or stay through 2029 under the current lease.
That Dec. 31 deadline explains why the Angels have said they plan to make a decision on Anaheim or Long Beach by year’s end. The Long Beach option presumably would require the Angels to try to negotiate a short-term lease for Angel Stadium while the Long Beach ballpark is built, much as the NFL’s Raiders negotiated a short-term lease to stay in Oakland while their new Las Vegas stadium is completed.