1/12/10 Naples, Fla., Spring Training update
Want to know more details about the Cubs’ possible move of their Spring Training facility to Florida? On Wednesday, the investor group leading the “Cubs to Florida” effort will meet with the editorial board of the Naples Daily News, and the session will be broadcast on the newspaper’s website.
The Cubs could make a decision as early as next week as to whether they will stay in Mesa, Ariz., or move to Florida.
Craig Bouchard, co-founder and vice chairman of Chicago-based Esmark Inc., and Gary Price, managing partner and principal of Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors, will take part in the meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. Also attending the session will be Craig Lyon, managing partner and principal with Fifth Avenue Advisors.
The investor group will review its proposal to bring the Cubs’ Spring Training complex to Collier County and present a detailed overview of the many local and state benefits its plan would offer.
The Cubs are the top prize in the Cactus League. A recent study showed they bring $52 million to the state of Arizona. Florida officials say out of town Red Sox fans directly spend $23.9 million into the Lee County economy in Spring Training.
Here are some details of the Florida group’s proposal regarding the Cubs:
* The facility will be leased and maintained by the Cubs under a 20- to 30-year contract. Private investors will build the Wrigley Village commercial district.
* The facility will consist of a 15,000-seat stadium, practice fields, Major and Minor League clubhouses and the Cubs baseball operations headquarters.
* Collier County taxpayers will not pay for the facility. Funding is proposed to come from private sources, fees paid by tourists, and state funds set aside for baseball.
* No county sales tax or ad valorem (property) tax is proposed to fund this project.
* Outside of Spring Training, the complex will host adult and Little League baseball and softball tournaments, concerts, art festivals and special events.
— Carrie Muskat