Chase Field Sale

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The attempted sale of Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has fallen through. The investment company that was considering buying Chase Field says it is withdrawing its offer because of a lack of cooperation from the Diamondbacks. Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal will bring us up to date.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON, I'M TED SIMONS. THE STATE SUPREME COURT TODAY REVERSED A LOWER COURT RULING REGARDING WARRANTLESS SEARCHES OF THOSE ON PROBATION. A TRIAL JUDGE HAD RULED THAT SUCH SEARCHES VIOLATED A PROBATIONER'S RIGHTS, BUT THE HIGH COURT DISAGREED AND SAID THAT THERE WAS CLEAR EVIDENCE THAT THE SEARCH WAS LEGAL.

TED SIMONS: THE ATTEMPTED SALE OF CHASE FIELD HAS FALLEN THROUGH, THIS AFTER THE INVESTMENT COMPANY THAT WAS CONSIDERING BUYING THE DIAMONDBACKS HOME STADIUM WITHDREW ITS OFFER. HERE TO BRING US UP TO SPEED ON ALL THIS IS MIKE SUNNUCKS OF THE PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL. HOW ARE YOU DOING?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

TED SIMONS: INVESTORS DROP OUT OF THE DIAMONDBACKS' DEAL FOR THE STADIUM. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: THIS DATES BACK TO THE SUMMER WHEN THE GROUP FROM ATLANTA AND NEW YORK APPROACHES MARICOPA COUNTY SAYING THEY WILL BUY THIS FOR $60 MILLION AND THE COUNTY STADIUM DISTRICT THAT GOVERNS THE STADIUM SAID OKAY. WE WILL REACH A LETTER OF INTENT AND NEGOTIATE WITH YOU. ORIGINALLY, THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO GET THE DEAL DONE BY HALLOWEEN AND EXTENDED THAT UNTIL JANUARY. THE CATCH IS THE D-BACKS, THE TENANT AT THE BALLPARK, HAD VETO POWER AND COULD COME IN AND BUY CHASE FIELD IF THEY DEFAULT. SO THEY HAD A HARD TIME GETTING TOGETHER TO MEET. THE D-BACKS WANTED TO SEE THEIR FINANCIALS AND BUSINESS PLAN AND THEY COMPLAINED THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED IN THE FRONT DOOR TO GET THE DEAL DONE AND THE D-BACKS SAID THEY WERE OFFENDED AND DIDN'T LIKE HOW THE GROUP APPROACHED THIS. THIS COMES AFTER THE COUNTY AND THE TEAM HAD THIS BIG SPAT OVER REPAIRS AND RENOVATIONS AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT. WE ARE BACK TO SQUARE ONE BETWEEN THE TEAM AND THE COUNTY.

TED SIMONS: AND THE COUNTY. STADIUM REAL ESTATE PARTNERS TOO DECIDED THEY ARE OUT OF HERE. THE DIAMONDBACKS SAY THE REASON THEY ARE OUT OF HERE IS BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO MEET BECAUSE THESE FOLKS, AS YOU SAID, WOULDN'T TELL US WHO THEY REALLY ARE, WHAT THEY REALLY REPRESENT, AND WHAT THEY REALLY PLAN TO DO. IS THAT A REASONABLE CONCERN?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: I THINK BOTH SIDES PUT FORTH ARGUMENTS ABOUT WHY THIS FELL APART. THE STADIUM GROUP HAD FOLKS OUT OF ATLANTA, INVESTMENT FOLKS OUT OF NEW YORK, WHO SAID WE WANT TO BUY THE STADIUM AND LAND AROUND IT AND FIX IT UP AND RENOVATE IT. THAT'S WHAT THE D-BACKS WANT. THE COUNTY CAN'T AFFORD OR HASN'T BEEN ABLE TO AFFORD TO PAY FOR THIS. SO WE ARE OFFERING THIS SOLUTION. BUT THERE WERE QUESTIONS ALL ALONG BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO SEE THE FINANCIALS, WHO ARE YOU, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO. IF THEY ARE GOING TO BUY IT FOR $60 MILLION HOW MUCH IS THE LAND WORTH? THIS BALLPARK COST $358 MILLION TO BUILD AND YOU ARE SELLING IT FOR $60. THEY WERE WAITING ON THE APPRAISAL TO SEE HOW MUCH IT IS WORTH. REAL ESTATE COMMUNITY FOLKS WERE WONDERING HOW MUCH THE LAND IS WORTH AND YOU SEE THE VALUES UP BECAUSE OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND WE NEVER GOT THAT FAR.

TED SIMONS: IF THE COUNTY IS WILLING TO SELL THIS FOR $60 MILLION, D-BACKS SAY NO, THEY CAN STILL -- $60 MILLION IS A MIDDLE INFIELDER FOR THESE GUYS. WHY AREN'T THE D-BACKS BUYING THIS? GETTING THE LAND AND DOING WHATEVER PROJECT THEY WANT EITHER RENOVATE, REPAIR OR TEAR IT DOWN AND BUILD ANOTHER ONE?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: THERE IS QUESTIONS ABOUT WHERE THE D-BACKS WOULD HAVE BEEN IF THIS MOVED FORWARD. IT NEVER GOT THAT FAR. WHY NOT HAVING OTHER FOLKS COMING IN AND BID ON THIS THING BESIDES THIS GROUP WITH A SOLE BID? WE NEVER GOT THAT FAR. MAYBE THEY CAN WORK IT OUT. BUT THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TEAM AND COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ARE PRETTY POOR.

TED SIMONS: IT SOUNDS LIKE THE COUNTY WANTED TO GET RID OF THIS AND FOUND A WILLING PARTNER BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DON'T LET THE D-BACKS DO WHATEVER THEY WANT.

MIKE SUNNUCKS: I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT IT, THE COUNTY COULD GET RID OF THE TEAM, THE CITY OF PHOENIX COULD STEP IN AND MAYBE DO SOME KIND OF DEAL WHERE THE D-BACKS RUN THE STADIUM AND THE CITY OWNS IT. THE COUNTY AND TEAM DON'T WANT TO DEAL WITH THIS. WE ARE AT AN IMPASSE AND BACK TO SQUARE ONE.

TED SIMONS: THE INVESTORS ALSO AGREED WITH THE COUNTY THAT IT WAS MORE LIKE AN 80 MILLION DOLLAR REPAIR JOB AS OPPOSED TO WHAT THE DIAMONDBACKS SEE IT AS $187 REPAIR. WHAT IS NEEDS TO BE DONE TO THE STADIUM? IS IT IN THAT BAD OF SHAPE?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: IT WAS ONLY BUILT IN 1998. THERE HAS BEEN WATER DAMAGE AND STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. THE COUNTY AND TEAM CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MINOR REPAIRS VERSUS MAJOR REPAIRS. MAJOR RENOVATIONS VERSUS COSMETIC THINGS. THEY ARE NOT ON THE SAME PAGE AND HAVEN'T BEEN ON THE SAME PAGE IN HOW MUCH IT COSTS. THE APPRAISAL FROM THE REAL ESTATE FIRM WAS SUPPOSED TO LOOK AT THAT BUT THESE ARE NOT EASY. YOU DON'T SELL EXISTING BALLPARKS OFTEN. IT IS AN UNPRECEDENTED DEAL AND NOW IT IS AN UNPRECEDENTED DEAD DEAL.

TED SIMONS: WE WILL HAVE MAYOR GREG STANTON ON TOMORROW AND I WILL ASK HIM THIS, TOO. HOW DOES THIS IMPACT WHAT THE SUNS ARE TRYING TO DO DOWNTOWN?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: THIS STADIUM GROUP FLOATED ALL KINDS OF IDEAS. TEAR DOWN CHASE FIELD AND MAYBE BUILD ANOTHER ARENA BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DEVELOP THE LAND BETWEEN THE ARENA AND STADIUM. WE ARE STILL WAITING ON THE SHERIDAN DEAL TO CLOSE. THEY NEED TO SELL THAT TO BE ABLE TO FINANCE THE ARENA FOR THE SUNS. THERE IS TIME FOR THE SUNS AND DBACKS TO DO THIS. WE ARE WAITING ON THE SHERIDAN DEAL TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS. YOU HAVE THREE TEAMS, INCLUDING THE COYOTES, LOOKING FOR NEW ARENAS AND THERE IS NOT THAT KIND OF PUBLIC APPETITE OUT THERE TO SUBSIDIZE THIS. SO THEY'VE GOT TO OVERCOME A LOT OF POLITICAL OPPOSITION.

TED SIMONS: THERE IS TALK THE COYOTES WOULD BE BUILDING AN ARENA IN CONJUNCTION WITH ASU SOUTH OF THE RIO PARKWAY. LOTS OF HOO-HAY WHEN THIS WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED BUT THEY HAVE GOTTEN QUIET. IS THIS THING HAPPENING?

MIKE SUNNUCKS: THEY NEED A DEAL FROM THE LEGISLATURE. SPECIAL TAX FINANCING OR TAX DISTRICT APPROVED DOWN THERE TO FUND THIS. IT WOULD HAVE AN ARENA, MAYBE A HOTEL. YOU WOULD CAPTURE THE REVENUE AROUND IT. THAT IS A TOUGH GO AND A CONSERVATIVE LEGISLATURE WHO DON'T LIKE THE SWEETHEART DEALS FOR SPECIFIC PROJECTS. THE CITIES HAVE BEEN PUSHING FOR FINANCING BUT THERE IS NOT A LOT OF APPETITE FOR THIS. IT IS A FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE STATE ON TOP OF THIS.

TED SIMONS: REGARDLESS OF WHAT ASU, TEMPE OR ANYONE, IN ORDER TO GET TAX INCREMENT FINANCING YOU HAVE TO GET APPROVAL OF THE LEGISLATURE AND SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR. THAT IS THE LAW.

MIKE SUNNUCKS: YEAH, AND THAT IS GOING TO BE TOUGH TO GET THROUGH. WHEN THE COYOTES AND THE DEVELOPMENT PARTNER THEY ANNOUNCED THIS WITH, THE MAYOR OF TEMPE AND ASU FOLKS WERE NOT THERE. THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE ARENA BUT WILL NOT STICK THERE NECK OUT FINANCIALLY FOR IT.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT. GOOD SEEING YOU, MIKE.

MIKE SUNNUCKS: THANKS SO MUCH.

Mike Sunnucks: Phoenix Business Journal

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