Anaheim City Council has today (Wednesday) approved a revised deal with Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, selling Angel Stadium and surrounding land in return for a commitment to keep the Major League Baseball (MLB) team in the Californian city through to at least 2050.

The approval calls for the Angels to play in Anaheim through at least 2050 with five five-year extensions, or through 2075. Angel Stadium and 150 acres of surrounding land will be sold to SRB Management, Moreno’s company, for an appraised market value of $320m (£248.9m/€273.6m).

This will comprise of payment to city of $150m in cash and $170m in 466 affordable apartments for working families, as well as the development of a seven-acre public park. Stadium land will be developed as homes, offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, entertainment and parks and open spaces, under a plan that aims to drive new city revenue from property, sales and hotel taxes.

The Council approved the revised deal 5-2, with council members Jose Moreno and Denise Barnes opposed. A second vote is scheduled for next week to finalise the deal, although that is understood to be a formality.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper said Council rejected Jose Moreno’s motion to eliminate credits and order SRB to pay the full $325m price that was originally agreed in December. The Council is also said to have dismissed Barnes’ motion that the vote be delayed until local residents could comment in person, or at least via Zoom. More than 250 public comments, all delivered via email during COVID-19, were said to have included a mix of reactions. A citizens’ group has also sued the City, alleging the deal violates state transparency laws.

News of a revised deal was first reported earlier this month after the City of Anaheim in June unveiled wide-ranging plans to transform the area around Angel Stadium into a mixed-use development under the ‘The Big A: 2050’ banner.

Approval of the agreement comes after nearly a year of talks between the city and SRB Management, along with Angels Baseball, the operating company for the team. The approval follows unsuccessful attempts in 2013-14 and in 2016 to secure baseball’s long-term future in Anaheim as well as development around the stadium.

The Angels have played in Anaheim since 1966. With the agreement, the team is committing to play at Angel Stadium, or any replacement stadium in Anaheim, for the next 30 years or more. The commitment agreement, between the city and Angels Baseball, precludes relocation of the team to another city, an issue that came up in 2014 when the Angels looked at Los Angeles, Carson, Irvine and Tustin, and in 2018 when the team looked at Long Beach. 

The City of Anaheim built what is today Angel Stadium of Anaheim in 1966, and has owned it since. The sale will end 50-plus years of city stadium ownership and put any future maintenance, renovation or stadium construction costs solely in the hands of SRB Management. The plan also calls for a renovated Angel Stadium, or a new 45,000-seat stadium.

“We have made history,” said Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu. “What have been far too many years of uncertainty and inaction in Anaheim are now over. We have secured baseball while freeing our city from the costs of stadium ownership. Our residents will benefit for years to come as valuable, underutilised land gives way to a stadium area we can all be proud of.”

In a statement reported by the Orange County Register newspaper, SRB Management spokeswoman Marie Garvey said: “While there are still more steps to go, we are pleased that the Stadium Development Plan continues to move forward. In the future, this property can play a key role in Anaheim’s recovery by creating thousands of jobs and building an exciting destination and community for residents and fans.”

Beyond next week’s Council meeting, the plan calls for closure of a sale in late 2021 or early 2022 with city review and approval of what are known as vesting tentative tract maps, which divide the land up for development.