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Sarasota County Considering Braves Facility

Jun 07, 2017 08:21PM ● Published by Kevin

The proposed Atlanta Braves training facility (rendering). Photo courtesy of Sarasota County.

The next step in a very lengthy process to bring an Atlanta Braves training facility to Sarasota County is to submit a formal application to the Florida Sports Foundation and the state of Florida for a $20 million state spring training stadium grant. The district board will vote this week to formally submit the application, according to Zach Murdock of The Herald-Tribune.

The Atlanta Braves chose Sarasota County as the destination for the team’s new spring training complex, and the team has been in exclusive negotiations with the county and its partners at West Villages, the city of North Port and the state of Florida, according to Sarasota County's official website.

The county would assume ownership of the stadium upon completion, which is slated for Jan. 15, 2019, just in time for spring training season that year. Murdock previously reported the financing be in place by the end of October in order for construction to begin on time.

"The team will retain all revenues generated by its use of the stadium, but it also will pay between $2 million to $2.5 million each year toward the debt to build the stadium," the report states. "The team will be required to pay for routine maintenance and will split about $11.3 million in capital improvement funding over its 30-year lease with the county. The team also will be required to pay for any cost overruns in the stadium project, an issue that plagued SunTrust Park, the team’s new regular season home in Cobb County, Georgia."

As of last week, The West Villages has picked a set of contractors to build the training complex.

Fact Sheet

Below information courtesy of Sarasota County.

Project Description

  • 6,500 fixed seats (2,500 general admission, including berm and concourse).
  • 360-degree concourse walkway.
  • Luxury suites.
  • Six full and two half practice fields.
  • 750 paved parking spaces.
  • Batting cages and pitching mounds.

Braves' Commitment

  • Sign a 30-year lease with annual payments to cover the stadium debt.
  • Assume responsibility for all project furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  • Make an annual capital expenditure contribution toward stadium maintenance.
  • Own and operate a year-round academy.

Partner Commitments

  • West Villages Developer: Contribute the land, infrastructure and $300,000 annually for 30 years to help secure the agreements. West Villages would oversee the construction and development of the complex.
  • State of Florida: Contribute $20 million from its Spring Training Retention Fund ($1 million a year).
  • City of North Port: Asked to contribute $300,000 annually for 30 years.

County Commitment

  • Contribute hotel bed tax (TDT) dollars (bonded proceeds of approximately $21.2 million) to West Villages.
  • Make an annual capital expenditure from TDT revenue toward stadium maintenance. The county will assume ownership of the stadium upon completion.
  • Maintain a transparent process that will include public meetings as details and related agreements are presented to the Sarasota County Commission.

Cost

  • Current cost estimate is $75 million to $80 million (not including cost of land and infrastructure).
For more information, call 941-861-5000.
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