WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington City Council's first look at a proposed plan to bring minor league baseball to the Port City has Mayor Bill Saffo wanting more than a commitment of one-third the cost to build a ballpark.
"I would have liked to see more from the private sector," said Saffo.
The initial proposal Tuesday night comes from the Flywheel Trask development team, with the support of the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball.
In an exclusive interview with WECT's Frances Weller, Rich Neumann of Mandalay Baseball said the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay would pay about a third of the cost of the proposed stadium.
The estimated cost is $33.2 - $35.7 million, excluding the costs associated with the land for the project. Neumann also revealed that the private development team has a preferred site, but cannot disclose the location.
Saffo said Tuesday night that he would like to know if a stadium would be feasible at that price, or maybe a cheaper alternative would be possible. The negotiating process will continue Wednesday morning when the city's management team, National Sports Services, meets with the Flywheel Trask development group.
Tuesday's presentation included some of those figures, including how much the Braves and Mandalay would pay for their 30-year lease. An annual fee of $350,000 would total about $10.5 million.
When it comes to making money from the ballpark, the city would receive specific shares of ticket sales and naming rights. The city would collect half the net revenue of naming rights that exceed $350,000 annually. A dollar for every ticket sold to a minor league game would go to the city. That stipulation takes effect after the first 300,000 tickets are sold.
Economic development was not left out of Tuesday's presentation. Flywheel Trask estimates that this project would generate $62.7 million of economic activity and create 645 jobs in the first year. For every year after that, the group expects $9.8 of activity to continue and 139 jobs to remain steady.
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