City of Amarillo agrees to 30-year lease to bring back professional baseball

City of Amarillo agrees to 30-year lease to bring back professional baseball

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The papers have been signed, and the City of Amarillo officially has a contract outlining a 30-year lease with the Elmore Sports Group to bring professional baseball back to Amarillo.

After months of negotiations, the city has come to agreements with the Panhandle Baseball Club, which is the local ownership of the former San Antonio Missions and a branch of Elmore Sports Group.

The 30-year lease went into effect Tuesday.

Elmore agreed to pay $400,000 per year in rent to the city, which is the highest rent in the Texas League.

$175,000 per year will be used to pay off the debt for the stadium, and $225,000 will go toward future improvements, upgrades and maintenance to the stadium.

"The cost of the project is estimated to be $45.5 million and that will be paid using hotel occupancy tax dollars, not property tax dollars," said Mayor Ginger Nelson.

The city will retain ownership of the downtown parking garage, and will receive proceeds collected during events at the MPEV.

Anon-relocation agreement was also signed this evening.

"[It] anticipates, you know, if there ever were an event where they needed to leave Amarillo how that would work," said Nelson. "But their commitment is to be in Amarillo for a very long period of time. The lease term is 30 years so obviously they're making a very long term commitment to our community."

The next step is to hire a construction manager. Nelson said the city will be working toward that choice in the next week or two.

Design stages are being finalized as well.

At Tuesday evening's city council meeting there were some citizens speaking out against the ballpark, questioning payment options and the effect on Amarillo residents.

After hearing these comments, the contract was still signed and there's no turning back now.

"Get excited about this event, it is happening, it is what the voters chose. So I would hope they would be able to find something positive about it and get behind it."

Work will begin immediately on the site of the future stadium, starting with laying utility lines.

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