The Grove in Anaheim could be sacrificed for the Angels’ development project
The theater that staged the wildest celebration of the Angels’ lone World Series championship could be sacrificed so the Angels can build as freely as possible on the stadium parking lot.
The City National Grove of Anaheim is located on part of the land the city of Anaheim is discussing with the Angels for possible development, according to city documents.
The city and the Angels met for their second negotiating session Friday, with both sides hoping to strike a deal under which the team would stay in Anaheim for decades and would build shops, restaurants, hotels and other amenities on the parking lot around the stadium.
Neither the city nor the Angels would discuss Friday what might happen to the Grove, citing the ongoing negotiations.
The Grove is owned by the city and run by Nederlander Concerts. Nederlander declined to say when its management agreement with the city expires, and city spokesman Mike Lyster said he did not have that information immediately available.
“We are committed to our partnership with the City of Anaheim for years to come,” Alex Hodges, the chief executive officer of Nederlander Concerts, said in a statement.
The city previously has considered demolishing the venue. In 2005, the city pitched the NFL on building a stadium on the Grove site.
In 2013, as part of negotiations that ultimately collapsed, a draft memorandum of understanding called for the Angels to develop the stadium parking lot, with the city listing the status of the Grove as one of the “obligations” that would need to be resolved for the Angels to secure development rights.
The city reached agreement on a deal with the Ducks last year that allows the team to develop the area around the nearby Honda Center. That arena already is used as a concert venue — both as a full-size arena and a half-size theater — but the Ducks’ management might be reluctant to enhance the entertainment options in and around the Honda Center if the Grove remains as competition.
The Angels face a Dec. 31 deadline to opt out of its stadium lease or remain bound to it through 2029, but one councilman suggested the deadline might not be that firm.
The Grove opened in 1998 as Tinseltown, a dinner theater in which the performance was a Hollywood-style awards show starring members of the audience. Patrons entered on a red carpet, with spotlights shining on them, faux reporters interviewing them, and faux paparazzi and autograph hunters hounding them.
The concept bombed. The facility was converted into a concert hall the following year, and the city of Anaheim bought the property in 2002.
Nederlander Concerts has run the theater since then. The Grove hosts more than 250 concerts, shows, private functions and community events each year. The December calendar includes a concert by Chris Isaak, a “Nutcracker” performance by the Anaheim Ballet, and a live stage version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Among the artists to play at the Grove: Prince, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Julio Iglesias, Ray Charles, Brian Wilson and Scott Spiezio.
That would be the same Scott Spiezio who played first base for the Angels. On Oct. 26, 2002, with the Angels trailing, 5-0, and eight outs from losing the World Series, Spiezio hit the three-run home run that sparked a legendary Game 6 comeback.
The next day, the Angels won the World Series. Three months later, Spiezio led his rock band onto the stage at the Grove.
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