After Second Meeting With Angels Over Stadium Lease, Mayor Says ‘It’s Clear’ They Share Same Goals
By: Alicia Robinson
Date: November 22, 2019
“Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu presented his vision for a long-term relationship with the Angels in a second round of talks between the city and its hometown baseball team on Friday, Nov. 22.
“We want to keep baseball here, see fair market value for land and added benefits for our city,” Sidhu said in a prepared statement released after the several-hour meeting. “It’s clear that the Angels share these goals and have heard the input of our City Council.”
Friday was the second formal face-to-face meeting between the two sides’ negotiating teams, but beyond their statements officials continue to offer few specifics of what could be a decades-long deal for Angel Stadium.
“We were pleased to meet with the negotiating team today and continue to make progress in our talks regarding our future in Anaheim,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said.
The rest of the council got a closed-door briefing on Nov. 19 on the first meeting, which was Nov. 15, and will repeat that process Dec. 3 with an update on what happened Friday. City spokesman Mike Lyster said the negotiating parties may meet next week, but a date hasn’t been set.
The Angels have played in Anaheim’s stadium since 1966, and their current lease gives them until Dec. 31 to opt out or stay through 2029. Earlier attempts to craft a new lease fell apart in 2016.
The acres of parking surrounding the stadium – and their potential for development – is widely expected to figure in any new deal. The city recently had the land appraised, but has not made the results public.
City officials have said they expect the stadium to someday help anchor a vibrant sports/entertainment district, filled with restaurants, shops, homes and hotels. Anaheim could sell or lease the land to the Angels, and development revenue could help pay to improve or replace the aging stadium.
Others would like to see for an agreement that guarantees community benefits, such as preferences for hiring local businesses and workers or direct support for community programs and facilities.
The Angels notified the city last fall they were opting out of their lease, which would have meant they’d be out of the stadium by this October. But in January, the council – at Sidhu’s direction – reinstated the original lease and gave the team until the end of this year to opt out.
Some critics, Councilman Jose Moreno chief among them, have questioned why it took 10 months for the city and team to start negotiations, and they’ve worried the process will be rushed and lacking in transparency for the public.
But in statements after both meetings, Sidhu said any proposed agreement “would go before the City Council for open, public consideration” and would be made public in advance.”