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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Atlanta Braves, Mandalay Baseball Properties and the City of Wilmington have reached a tentative ballpark agreement. The city says the cost of the ballpark will not exceed $31 million and would be paid for by a 2.5-cent property tax increase.

A news release says the Braves have committed to put a minor league team in the Port City for at least 20 years and pay the highest rent in the Carolina League. Ownership expects the team will bring approximately 25 full time jobs and 350 seasonal jobs.

Click here to see the proposed Memorandum of Understanding

“We continue to believe a multi-use facility and an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves will be a tremendous boost to the City of Wilmington,” Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Plant said in a statement. “As people take time to review this proposal, they will see the value of the Atlanta Braves’ commitment to becoming part of the Wilmington community for decades to come.”

City Council is expected to vote on the plan at its meeting Tuesday. Voters will decide on a bond referendum for the stadium November 6.

This evening, the city released some of the details of the plan for the ballpark:
-A 6,200-seat ballpark to be located on at least seven acres of downtown riverfront property that could also include a 1.5-acre city park
-Ballpark construction costs would not exceed $31 million, funded by a 2.5-cent property tax increase
-20-year commitment by the Braves
-Anticipated cost of $6 million for land acquisition/remediation; this money would be paid back to the city from the Braves/Mandalay with annual rent and management fees
-Target date for completion would be April 2014 or April 2015, depending on final design
-Braves/Mandalay would be responsible for ballpark’s operating expenses and in exchange would receive all revenues
-Annual management/rent fee payments of $500,000 from the Braves/Mandalay for 20 years
-Another club, such as a university team, could use the ballpark as its home stadium if agreements can be reached
-Project contingent upon:
·Passage of voter referendum
·City acquiring the site and able to build the ballpark for $31 million
·Team purchasing the minor league club in Lynchburg, VA, moving it here and being approved by Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the Carolina League

The full agreement and City Council agenda materials will be posted on the city’s website by noon on Friday


Comment on this Story

  • Embarrassing

    Amazing that any stadium has ever worked! Lets keep Wilmington in 1967! Change is BAD! Leave it an empty lot! There is risk. Its worth it to me at roughly 65 bucks a year to my taxes. GEEZ.

  • Vog46

    Yeah and I’ll keep on posting so long as misinformation is put out or numbers are misinterpreted so save your breath.

    Keep trying though

  • Vog46

    I compare our stadium with Rome GA.
    Atlanta affiliate (Single A, south atlantic league) 30 mile population is 395,000. Wilmington has 348,000.
    They’ve host 10 non baseball events annually (since 2003)
    (NSS chap 4 pg 38)

    Just 10.
    We are anticipated to host 6 times that amount of non baseball events.
    Its no wonder Mandalanta wants the city to keep non baseball stadium revenue!
    Every time I turn around or Mandalanta makes a statement I start looking even more closely at the NSS report. And it’s bad.

    BTW pro baseball crowd. Who gets the parking revenue?

  • Vog46

    I will contribute to the BBC as I love their accents on the telly and the radio.
    Oh wait, wrong BBC……..
    Look, they get these subsidies because they CAN. Lets deny the subidy then see what happens.

    @Guest 2020:
    Saffo has said the following:
    At $42M – too expensive
    At $32M – Can’t support that number and Mandalay has to put more skin in the game.
    At $31M – let the voters decide

    What Saffo et al have done is basically put this on us. This was a huge mistake for the supporters of baseball as they over stated baseball support right from the start. IT is clear the majority want baseball so long as taxpayer dollars are not used. Support dwindles as the tax rate goes up.
    I don’t know what this problem is. Is it Saffo didn’t have the guts to say “NO”? Is he afraid of making the mistake – so he wants it on our backs? Obviously by the council votes THEY wanted it passed on to us.

    When originally proposed the cost was ZERO to taxpayers and everyone was happy.
    When that fell through someone should have said (at that point) “Come back when you have replacement private financing.” THAT would have indicated we support baseball and we are willing to wait – but no they kept on going.
    That turned this battle into a political/financial battle.
    THis should not have happened – it got the pro side all fired up way too early. Now its up to the voters to say “Sorry this isn’t going to work”.

    I guess WE have to lead on this one


  • SurfCityTom

    physician prescribed “tryphorgetten”, the new wonder drug for Democrats. They’re able to overlook and forget campaign promises while still getting a full night’s sleep and avoiding heartburn.

    Folks need to remember these things come election time. So voters should avoid tryphorgetten.

  • SurfCityTom

    what amazes me is the twisting and turning for the baseball supporters.

    Remember when Dukie, T and others stated their desire was for baseball? Baseball was their prime focus. America’s Game.

    So Ripken’s Group comes along with a proposal to build across the river. All private funding; now I am realistic enough to think they may want some tax incentives during the early years. But none the less, no Bond Referendum needed. No increase in the property tax rate needed. And frankly, access to the facility via 421 is going to be a lot easier than from Market Street onto Front Street.

    So one would think the proponents would be jumping up and cheering in support of this private venture. Right?

    Except, it still leaves the owner of that over priced piece of river front acreage, aka The Albatross, sitting in it’s current owner’s portfolio along with the debt service.

    It continues to strike me that the Proponents have a vested interest in that albatross.

    Ripken’s position has been stated; they will build the ball park; Mandalanta can operate the ball team.

    Did I miss something?

    Before they yell, where’s the deal? When will Mandalanta and the City release all of the terms for their deal?

  • SurfCityTom

    I’ve learned the easiest manner to shut an opponent up is to state clear fact which prove the opposing position wrong.

    At the end of any day, you and Dukie fail to post any fact.

    You choose not to pick up the gauntlet and state proveable fact.

    Remember your ranting about the Durham Performing Art Center?

    You took quotes from the Greensboro newspaper out of context. You in fact lied in some of your statements.

    Why not crawl back in your burrow until such time as you can face the light of truth?

    Go ahead; go review what you posted and the many out and out untrue statements which were placed by you?

    Go ahead, if you’re man enough.

  • Guest3456

    Just try to find out who really owns the property. “Riverfront Holdings II”…. great name. And it’s just that. A holding company owned by ?????? Anyone out there know how to figure out just who is behind it?

  • Rick Wilson

    The answer to your question is nothing has changed. His original statement was true. The city can not afford a tax payer funded stadium. It is too bad that it was just another lie, told by a politician, to get elected. There is not any money to bring the salaries of city workers up to the average of other areas, but a tax payer funded stadium is deemed necessary. The Police Department is up to a 25% turn over rate for employees. This means less experienced officers on the streets and massive training costs. The Fire Department is having trouble attracting qualified personal. The Mayor and City Council have wasted 100’s of thousands of dollars and man hours on a project that does not make any sense. They need to concentrate on sewers, roads, and salaries. They need to leave private enterprise to the private sector. The salaries for Fire and Police average 10% less than other nearby areas and the matching benefit and retirement packages have been reduced considerably.

    The Convention Center loses a considerable amount of money each month and now the City Leaders in their infinite wisdom think the tax payers need to subsidize a billionaire also. I wonder what the billionaire is going to do for them? I am glad I do not work for the city, the city leaders have lost all concept of fairness and common sense. I hope everybody will remember this when it is time to vote….

  • Vog46

    Lets see.
    The media blitz has started with a PR from Mandalay that seems a little bizarre.
    Here’s the link:

    First Mr Neumann needs to keep his nomenclature the same as we are not stupid. Here’s one thing he said:
    “While the city of Wilmington is being asked to contribute $37 million for the stadium, the Braves are making a $25 million investment over 20 years, he said.”
    OK he CLAIMS the Braves are making $25M over 20 years. What about Wilmington over 20 years? How about $58M Mr Neumann? And that doesn’t include other costs like repairs after storms etc…Keep your time frames consistent – otherwise people might mistake you for a snake oil salesman.

    Then he said this:
    “After construction, the ongoing economic impact would be $9.8 million, with 139 jobs created, Neumann said”
    We already know about the jobs – 25 full time and many more part time.
    But $9.8M in economic impact?
    Pg 114 of NSS says this:
    “Overall, the minor league team and ballpark are estimated to generate a cumulative amount of nearly $19.3 million in new revenues to the City over a 20‐year period through ballpark lease payments, sales taxes, property taxes, occupancy taxes and admission fees. The County is anticipated to receive $5.4 million in cumulative new revenues over 20 years including new property tax, sales tax and occupancy tax
    19.3 + 5.4 = $24.7M – BUT THIS IS OVER 20 YEARS OR:
    24.7/20 = $1.23M per year which includes rent and property taxes. We know the rent will be $500,000.
    $1.230,000 – 500,000 = $730,000 of new revenues
    Property taxes? On $31M of property? Lets say $200,000

    Which leaves us with $530,000 of revenues from out side the stadium
    Or the equivalent of a large pet store according to the Brookings Institute.
    Now of course the BIG THING is that Neumann again TRASHED the NSS report.
    These guys need to fact check what they’re about to say against the NSS study.

    Good Grief

  • Guest3465

    But from where? Residents of the City and immediately surrounding areas are not going to show up in sufficient numbers consistently to to see a team that probably isn’t much better – if at all – than the Sharks or UNCW baseball, for that matter). Neither existing facility is consistently full, and the price to be paid is much lower than what the entry fee on this will be. No parking fees to be paid to yet another – probably the same – monopoly, either.

    Funny that the toxic waste dump was mentioned. Just look along the river at that site now. They are digging all sorts of stuff out of the ground like wood (nice arsenic and coal tar treated poles), who knows what liquids, and who knows what else. Big piles of “stuff” and the liquid just gets to run off into the river. The whole area stinks depending on the direction of the wind. The entire site is still listed as a brownfield, but no one is enforcing any kind of rules about what’s coming out of the ground.

    The proposed ballfield will sit on ground that hasn’t yet been dug, so who knows what goodies will be found there. Delay in construction due to hazardous waste? Who cares… The city will have to deal with, and pay for it!

  • ChefnSurf

    Can’t quite put my finger on it but for some reason the Ripken Way just sounds a tad more user friendly.

  • Guest56454

    Don’t the “owners” of other stadiums have fancy seats? You can bet that Saffo, and the rest of the bunch won’t be paying to get in. Wait…. They probably won’t even be bothered to show up after the ribbon cutting. By the time this thing would open, Saffo – hopefully! – won’t even be the Mayor.

  • ChefnSurf

    In the context of this discussion I’m not sure which one’s worse.

    I do know though that Wilmington’s already stuck with one of them and that’s already one too many.

  • Rick Wilson

    The Sports Empires in this country have pulled off one of the biggest con games in the history of the world. The con is called “Tax Payer funded Stadiums.” They come to an area with wild claims of benefits and progress to convince the local governments and tax payers to subsidize them. What other business requires tax payers to build them an office/stadium costing millions of dollars and rent it back to them for a small fraction of the building/maintenance costs? They get total control and charge the people that paid for the project each and every time they use it. They also directly compete with other businesses in the area that did not receive any subsidies. This is a sweetheart of a deal for the billionaire owner.

    Most of the claims of benefits for the cities where these stadiums are located are false. The stadiums take away business from restaurants and sports bars. The times the stadiums draw the most fans are weekend night games, and most of the area businesses are closed when the games are over. Most of the people that regularly attend baseball games live within a 30 mile radius of the stadium. They eat and drink in the stadium and go home once the game is over. The economic windfall is for the team owner. It is time for the “Billionaires Beggar Club” to go away. They are the ones with the “billions of dollars,” and it is time for them to pay their own way. If they were the ones paying, I am willing to bet that stadiums would no longer have to be replaced every 15 to 20 years………

    The tax payer funded stadium projects are a small oasis trapped in a cloud of lies and deception…..the billionaire owners sit in the oasis reaping the benefit, while the tax payers are left in the desert with nothing but the costs…..

    Does anyone really feel the need to keep donating money to the “BILLIONAIRES BEGGAR CLUB?”

  • Rick Wilson

    Mr. T wrote, ” This is a difficult task as those opposed, generally oppose any progress and don’t care if their effort only leads to self humiliation. The city would be wise to expose to the voters the projected revenue stream for the stadium. It is the citizens right to make their decision based on both cost and return. Hopefully the city will produce a valuable business plan that will shut some of the clown activity down, but, if the city can’t accomplish this, those who favor baseball should lose.”

    The key words in your statement is “projected revenue stream” and “clown activity.” Between what you, Chuck Kuebler, and Terry Spencer, have claimed, your clown activity can not be surpassed! Here’s the deal genius: You claim the tax payers need to vote themselves a tax increase to fund a baseball stadium. The total cost will be over 58 million dollars. The people with brains, the ones you claim oppose any progress, want to let Ripken build the stadium with private investors. What part of free do you oppose? With this option available, why do you still want the tax payers to fund the stadium? One last question, Why do you feel it is right and fair for a billionaire to get a tax payer funded building to do business in? He gets to rent it for a fraction of the costs and competes directly with other businesses that do not get the same subsidizes. Sports bars and restaurants will lose business to the stadium. The revenue streams go directly to Mandalay, the Braves, and their billionaire owner. They get the profits and the tax payers get the bill. Your position on this issue makes you the “CLOWN.”

  • guesty

    If property owners will be forced to pay for it, why shouldn’t we get something in return? It is funny you think there will actually be a return on this white elephant. You probably think the convention center is a good deal also.

  • MrT

    posts on this story are from the same 4 echos. Surf-Chef-Rick and Vog.
    Hey Boys “It’s on the Ballot” Save your last brain cell and Just Vote No. All your essays are only falling on about 100 people. World Peace might be a more meaningful topic.

  • Vog46

    Try to keep up on stories will you?
    Before the stadium what was Shoninger planning for that land?
    Hotel and marina sound familiar?
    No public monies used
    Dean Hardwood land? Plans for development for that too.
    No public monies used.

    So now Ripken says I can build it with NO PUBLIC MONIES used and you want to vote to increase taxes?

    Yeah, your name fits -embarrassing


  • SurfCityTom

    the albatross would be the city funded ball park.

    The CC is already built; and that would be the White Elephant.

    I continue to wonder why Dukie & his cohorts rally around the referendum based bonds and city funded ball park when Ripken will do it better and more cost effectively.

    And you’re right, Ripken does things the right way. At the end of the day, they still hold their heads high.

  • Vog46

    For our readers please use the actual term (please?)

    “Except, it still leaves the owner of that over priced piece of river front acreage, aka The Albatross, sitting in it’s current owner’s portfolio along with the debt service.

    It continues to strike me that the Proponents have a vested interest in that albatross.”
    Are we talking CC or stadium?

    Look the CC is built – we have to deal with the possibility of 20 years of under performance which will need to be addressed as part of the Citys Budget.
    To alleviate confusion – this means that the CC fund (consisting of room taxes collected within city limits) at some point runs out and the city now has to “plan for” adding the CC operations shortfalls into it’s budget.
    That day is coming

    So we will have debt service to build it, and operations will require more city money to run it. SO that $60M which over 20 years is close to $88M will now have MILLIONS added to it for operations.
    Yeah I can easily see $100M+ over 20 years. It is quite the boondoggle.

    Now as for this
    “Did I miss something?”
    The answer is yes you did. Look the city has an MOU with Mandalay, and MiLB does not want two groups talking to the city at the same time. You & I can understand this and we could EASILY say, well its Ripken talking to the county.
    Legally I’m sure that this is acceptable – but I don’t think Ripken wants this to appear shaky. He’s a class act as far as I know and probably knows the referendum fails in November – so why rush? Keep it above board and come mid November just say “Give me the land and I build it with no taxpayer funds. Oh and by the way, if Mandalay wants to be involved I got no problem with them buying Lynchburg and moving them here to my stadium.”

    Its the MOU Tom. The city ran when it should have been walking. If they had done this right we’d NOT be having a vote in November we’d be talking to both groups and be signing a agreement for them to build BB55 park.

    Do the proponents have a vested interest?
    Don’t know and don’t really care but like the city they JUMPED at Mandalay’s interest and “poo-poohed” anything else.

    Thats their problem

  • Guest2020

    And if there was ever a fantasy in Wilmington, this stadium is it.

  • Guest2020

    The “leaders” refuse to hear. When I was in Wilmington, we voted against the convention center twice. Guess what? We got ourselves a convention center whether we liked it or not. What gets me is the refusal of the voters of Wilmington to dethrone these idiots and get someone in there who cares about the people of Wilmington.

  • ChefnSurf

    That is sooooooo dumb if you had a minimum of at least half a brain, you would be twins.

    Did you post this after spending the day in a bar? Using your logic that would have to be true because as of now there’s no stadium.

  • Guest2020

    The only return on investment that taxpayers would get is if they had season tickets for the next twenty years. If you think that is going to profit anyone other than the politicians taking kickbacks, the developer who builds it, the man selling the propery and Mandalay, then you are quite delusional.

  • Guest2020

    I have asked this question before and I will ask it again. I don’t recall anyone ever answering it, so if you know the answer then please reply to this post. I would really like to know.

    When Bill Laffo was campaigning this last time, he told Chad Adams that he would say “no” to a taxpayer funded stadium. He said that Wilmington cannot afford it. The question is: What windfall did Wilmington come into during that short amount of time to make Wilmington magically able to afford a taxpayer funded stadium now?

  • Guest2020

    Thank you Vog, for trying to present facts. Some people just can’t handle the truth, but you are not alone in desire to protect the taxpayers. Keep up the good work.

  • Guest2020

    I am opposed to the taxpayer funded stadium and the proponents on one hand say “more jobs for us” on the other hand “Mandalay is relocating everyone”. They can’t have it both ways. It’s rather illogical to think that the people with strong local ties in Lynchburg are just going to up and move with the team. We have a report that 115-135 full-time jobs will be created, but the agreement only include 25. And there will be 350 seasonal jobs. What do those 350 people do for the other six months? It struck me as underhanded at first reading about them approving it before the election, but the agreement is contingent upon the bond referendum passing. What remains to be seen is whether or not the council adheres to that or if they remove that contingency. It wouldn’t surprise me if they build it anyway. They did that with the convention center. They don’t care what they do to the taxpayers.

  • Guest 10101

    You, T, Wilmington silly council and downtown businesses are solely in this project because in one way or another you have something personally to gain. You care exactly zero percentage about anyone other than yourselves. Your actions have made that more than obvious!

    Invest in you? You have so little capacity for shame you can’t even comprehend how insulting that is to everyone else.

    After you are CRUSHED in the referendum, it might be a good time to investigate any potential malfeasance by your little cabal of thieves.

  • Guest2020

    I know how you feel with having to cut back on everything. And this deal is so unfair to you and the others like you who just cannot afford to allot one more penny to the government, especially for something that is just going to be another albatross around the necks of the Wilmington taxpayers. My dad retired ten years ago and he had to find a part time job just so that he an my mother can survive. I have few luxuries. I have internet, basic digital cable, a cell phone and I got a Kindle for a Christmas gift. I am so thankful that there are so many free books available to read on it. My mother-in-law, who has been widowed for fifteen years, lives in the city limits and she barely gets by as it is. I would hate to see her have to sell her house, the house that she and my father-in-law invested so much time and love into, so that a handful of greedy people (Wilmington Idiot Council and Mandalay Baseball) and a handful of selfish people (the ones who want the stadium no matter how big the financial burden is to others) can sit in a stadium for half a year and be entertained.

  • Vog46

    ANLBC is named in the contract but for section 7 only.
    Basically that section says that if Mandalay fails to pay the rent ANLBC will step in for two season or until another operator is chosen.

    Mandalay will repay some constructions costs – in their case they call it “rent”.
    Specifically, they will pay $500,000 for some period of time (One detail that is missing BTW). If I read it correctly once the land is repaid (which is max’d at $6M) the normal rent is then paid (I think).

    If the land costs more than $6M for purchase and site prep, Wilmington eats that extra $
    If it costs LESS than $6M (Lets say $3M) Wilmington puts that into the construction fund, meaning the stadium could now cost $34M.

    to address cost over runs.
    If they are caused by the city the city pays
    If they are caused by ANLBC they pay
    If they are caused by the contractor the city guarantees $500,000 towards the cost over runs. Half of that Mandalay will pay back over 10 years.
    Lets face it – the total cost for the city is NOT $31M. You have to count in interest on the bond and time.
    The cost is $58M
    Mandalay is not paying rent plus cost of living increase according to THIS document it appears to be a flat rate for 20 years. I max’d it out at $10M ($500,000 for 20 years)
    But its less than than – once the land is paid rent reverts back to some unspecified amount.

    Now as far as Atlanta is concerned. The deal is they will operate a Braves single A ball club here. If that club is SOLD it is no longer an Atlanta team and THIS agreement is null & void.

    I am very worried about what could happen should we get hit by a hurricane. We are responsible for that type of damage. This is one reason why this stadium should not be in this location.


  • Vog46

    If you are truly from Lynchburg I am sorry.
    The good news if there is any for you, is that ANLBC will reimburse your city for the remaining costs/loans associated with the 2004 upgrade to Calvin Falwell field.
    They will also replace the Hillcats – however they ADMIT that it won’t be a single A ball club. It is rumored it will be a Rookie league team which is one step above high school ball.

    The greatest news is that public opinion in Wilmington is very much against this stadium in spite of what supporters say. You see the polls were conducted as part of the study by NSS for our city government.
    Already ANLBC press releases have trashed this report for
    #Jobs created by the stadium
    Potential naming rights monies for the CITY.
    etc etc etc
    Because of these discrepancies the quality of he entire report is now in question and that includes the supposed “surveys showing support”.

    The vote is in November, but I suspect you’ll be enjoying MiLB ball for quite some time to come

  • SurfCityTom

    if you ever look at Ripken’s website, they are a lot more than just managing a few minor league beaseball teams. I stopped counting after 12 as to the number of ball parks they have developed for other parties.

    They do it the Ripken Way.

  • Vog46

    Here’s another little “goody” from the deal:

    “Naming Rights Revenue. (a) In addition to the annual rent paid by the Operator for the Office Space and the annual management fee paid by the Operator, the Operator shall share with the City fifty percent (50%) of the annual net revenue from naming rights for the
    Ballpark to the extent they exceed three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars ($325,000). “Net revenue” for purposes of this provision shall be defined, on an annual basis, as the difference of (i) the gross annual amount paid by a third party to the Operator for naming rights to the Ballpark and (ii) the actual cost or fair market value, as the case may be, of the sponsorship elements that the Operator is contractually obligated to deliver to such third party naming rights partner, including but not limited to signage, tickets, hospitality (e.g. party decks, group nights, and suite nights), promotions, media (e.g. radio, newspaper, internet and other advertising), usage of the Ballpark, and mascot, player and other appearances.”

    Interesting – the city gets NOTHING if naming rights is less than $325K per year. If it exceeds that it gets split.
    That’s cozy isn’t it?
    From the NSS report chapter 8, pg 99

    “Comparable ballpark naming rights agreements ranged from 10 to 20 years in lengthand with annual values ranging from $170,000 to $300,000 per year. Overall, the average comparable ballpark naming rights agreement was for an average of 13 years with an annual value of $252,857. Several of the most recent naming rights deals at comparable venues have an annual value of $300,000.”

    So NSS said it won’t go anywhere near $325K yet the city agreed that after it went over $325K it would be split?
    I think we can say they’ll be no revenue generated from that eh?

    Still a good deal Chuck?

    The pro side doesn’t see the implications here. This is another portion of NSS that has been completely trashed as a fabrication.

    This should now call into question EVERYTHING contained within the NSS study.
    The Survey results
    The economic impact
    The benefits to the city
    The attendance figures

    Reject the deal
    Lets see what Ripken can offer us


  • Rick Wilson

    “We have to give Mandalay $2.9 million of the $31 million so they can go buy FURNITURE, so now we have to build the stadium with $28.1 million, but of course we’re still on the hook for all of it.”

    $2.9 million dollars for furniture? I would like to see an itemized list of what was bought and the cost per item. Without this accounting, I believe a lot of this money just disappears. This deal just gets worse and worse. If this deal gets approved, there will be millions of dollars that do not get used for anything other than to line peoples pockets. If anyone cares to dispute this, demand an audit down to the penny on the money used to construct and equip the Convention Center. The old saying “When the fox is in charge of the hen house, he will have chicken dinner every single day” comes to mind.

    Why is it when private money is used to build these stadiums they cost 10 to 15 million dollars less than when public money is used? The cost overruns are a lot less also.

    There are people waiting in the wings to build this area a stadium using private money. All we have to do is vote against this con.

    The owner of the Braves is worth 5.1 billion dollars. He should quit asking for handouts from tax payers. Enough is enough. There is no logical reason to use tax payer money to fund a project that benefits Mandalay, the Braves, and their owner. They get the profits and the tax payers get the bill………

  • Guest HR

    Way to go need more like you.

  • Guest HR

    Hey Bill Saffo, donate your land there on 74/76 in Leland, and then I want feel as if we the tax payers have got screwed out of anything by the time your Baseball Stadium is payed you will be payed about what the tax payer’s have payed and then you can say you HELPED PAY for it and not just the tax payers of New Hanover.
    Do the math tax payer’s has Wilmington ever been on or under digit when
    it comes to adding NO,by the time the ball park is payed for it will have cost you the tax payer’s about SIXTY MILLION DOLLARS if not more than that.
    What if this team fails like the last two did you still paying for something NO BODY benefits from and is the city going to give you a life time right to all games or anything else that is held at the stadium I think not so grow a set and stand up to Bill and his puppets and say.
    HOMELESS SHELTER something that somebody can benefit from and not you
    clowns on city counsel.

  • Vog46

    Oh I think this is a non partisan issue.
    But in any event I fully expect the council to move forward, the pro side to claim they vote for the majority opinion, and that the referendum goes down to defeat in November.
    Ripken will then avoid Wilmingtons disjointed government structure and build a ball field on county property dealing with the Commissioners, and it will only cost the taxpayers water, sewer and electric lines………..


  • Hal R



  • Hal R



  • Hal R.

    To All Readers,and all interested party’s for the so called Baseball team ideal,has everybody in Wilmington lost your minds, do you remember Wilmington has already had Two Baseball teams here in the Port City,and what happen.One team was a joke and the other team MOVED AWAY if you people there let Bill Saffo,and City Counsel have there way you will be shining shoes next.
    To me them wanting to raise your property taxes 2.5 cents to pay for a Baseball team is to say,We city counsel members will do as we please
    and MAKE THE TAX PAYERS of the county pay for it. What about the homeless people in your neighbor hood that has NO where to lay their heads tonight or that kid next door going to bed HUNGERY,your neighbor with the FOR SALE sign in their yard or the Fore-closer paper in the window.
    Do you people in New Hanover County think it is right to be raising the taxes on the people that have NO job their unemployment gone,their
    house in Fore-closer due to know fought of their on because the job they had CLOSED DOWN.
    Tax payers stand up for yourself and GROW A SET AND SAY NO TO A BASEBALL TEAM AND SAFFO AND HIS TEAM,OF MONEY GRABBERS if you want a Baseball Team give them your check book and say here WRITE WHAT YOU NEED because if you let them raise your taxes to pay for it that is just what you are doing.
    Do you think they will give you and your family a life time right to all games there you payed for it you should get a sticker to go in your car window saying I AM TAX PAYER FOR THE BASEBALL STADIUM FREE ADMISSION. So whats it going to be citizens of New Hanover County is
    it right for your hard earned tax money to be going to something that is going to make BILL SAFFO HAPPY,why don’t Bill help save you tax payers some money and sale that land he has between New Hanover and
    Bruswick county there on 74/ 76 just before you get to Leland HELLO
    Tax payers you are already giving Bill and his Team a free meal ticket by keeping them on in the SORRY job that they are doing now you
    want to give them a Baseball Stadium take that money and HELP YOUR NEIGHBOR that needs it if you feel you need to HELP OUT.
    Anyway it is your call people in November to do the right thing SAY NO

  • Vog46

    Previous stories alluded to the deal costing Mandalay X amount per year and every year it went up by 3% or so.
    They have now reverted back to a flat rate over the course of the lease.
    While this makes it easy to figure out its not good for the city.
    $37M at 4% is $58M
    Mandalay pays $10M

    The Pro side WANTS you to think That Mandalay is paying a LOT because they have to buy Lynchburg.
    They also DON’T want you to think about total loan payment over time.
    Look at it their way
    They pay the land $6M
    They pay $10M in lease
    Leaves the city with $21M (57%) and Mand at $16M (43%)
    The problem is that over time it costs the city $58M minus Mandalays $16M(30%) and the city is now paying $42M(70%)

    See the difference? This is why they use the disingenuous argument that it costs “ONLY” $37 year per property taxpayer. Sounds good doesn’t it?
    Now multiply /that times 20 =$740
    Still is not too bad but consider this.
    When was the last time your property taxes went down because city spending went down? If you answered NEVER you are right.
    This is a LIFETIME tax increase.
    Don’t let he one lunch per month argument fool you!
    And its NOT $37M – it’s $58M.
    And if the stadium is destroyed by a hurricane? Watch out. It costs US not them.
    There will be costs associated with Azalea festival events held at the stadium.
    This is a negotiated travesty.


  • fellini123

    No one is being relocated. The full time employees here in Lynchburg will be unemployed if the francise moves.
    If they really think 31 million will buy a modern statium I suggest they look at what it cost Winston-Salem. (right around 62 million)
    I also question the dates on the MOU. They all state signing on September 2012 and at the lastest October 31, 2012. Hummmmm interesting as the referendum is not scheduled to be voted on until November 6 2012.
    So if everything is signed and the people vote NO then what??


  • Vog46

    A few points about this supposedly GREAT deal.
    First the link to the deal from the city’s website:
    First – the land. $6M is appropriated for the land. This does NOT include any remediation: AND if the land costs less than $6M that excess is contributed to the cost of the stadium which may raise the preice from the $31M

    “If the combined cost to the City of site acquisition and any remediation needed for site preparation exceeds six million dollars ($6,000,000), the City shall be responsible for funding any such excess, which excess shall not increase either the rent paid by the Operator for the Office Space (as defined below) or the management fee paid by the Operator for use of For consideration at Sept. 18 City Council Meeting the Ballpark. If the combined cost to the City of site acquisition and any remediation needed for site preparation is less than six million dollars ($6,000,000), the City shall contribute whatever portion of the $6,000,000 is not spent on site acquisition and such remediation to the project development budget for the Ballpark”.

    This is interesting, as it now ALLOWS for cost over runs which will be covered partially by this “contribution” to the development of the ballpark.
    Second – the land includes a 1.5 acre ball park. The pro side lead you to believe that this was going to be a good thing for the city and included in the ballpark proposal. Guess what? It’s not. It’s totally separate and totally paid for by city funds.

    “The City and the Operator understand and agree that the site, in addition to being developed for the Ballpark, may include a public park along the riverfront that would be approximately one (1) to one-and-a-half (1.5) acres in size and that would be developed and financed by the City separately from the Ballpark, with the Operator having no responsibility for the public park’s financing or development.”

    So the down town park will cost extra Millions of taxpayer dollars.
    Cost over runs? This is rich.

    “If pursuant to the discussions referenced in Section 3(b) below the Parties agree that a suitable and appropriate Ballpark can be built within the $31 million cap on hard and soft construction costs, but then later the estimated budget for the Ballpark exceeds the $31 million cap, the City and the Operator agree to contribute up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) towards the overrun, with the City and the Operator each making matching contributions of up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to pay for those overruns; provided that the Operator shall pay its portion to the City in ten (10) equal annual installments”.

    So if it goes over the $31M (plus the city’s “contribution”) Then the city pays out $500,000 IMMEDIATELY. Mandalay then splits the overrun $250K apiece which THEY pay to the city in 10 equal payments. The city is guaranteeing the $500K in over runs for Mandlalay.

    Delay in stadium construction? Another disaster !!!

    “… and that the fixed fee contract will include: (i) an express deadline for completing the project and financial penalties imposed on the contractor for failing to meet that deadline, with eighty-five percent (85%) of those penalties being paid to the Operator and fifteen percent (15%) of those penalties being paid to the City.”

    So, if the contractor chosen by the city is slow they pay a penalty. 85% of that penalty goes to Mandalay, 15% to the city (but the city pays for the stadium? So how does Mandalay warrant penalties?

    But here’s a kicker for you. The Braves play in, and maintain the park, BUT in the event of wind damage who fixes it? Yep the city

    “and the City shall be responsible at its expense for all insurance covering any damage or destruction to the Ballpark including providing “all risk” or “extended’ coverage for any damage outside of the control of the Parties including, without limitation, flood, wind, hail, lightning, earthquake or other casualty, with limits to be agreed upon between the City and the Operator. “

    So, city residents? Be prepared! WE get a hurricane here and the WE repair the ballpark for them!!

    And the Azalea Festival? Free right? Wrong. The city pays for all operating costs AND pays Mandalay to get the field back in playing shape:

    “Notwithstanding the above provisions, the City shall receive all revenues (and be responsible for all expenses) from any City-sponsored event held at the Ballpark, and the City will pay the Operator for its actual incremental operating costs plus a reasonable management fee (i.e., only those costs beyond the costs that the Operator would have incurred if there had been no event) for such City-sponsored events for which the Operator has agreed to provide services, including, without limitation, costs and expenses of clean-up of the Ballpark to the Operator’s satisfaction and costs and expenses of event operations (e.g., security, fire and medical personnel, ticket selling, ticket taking, ushers).”

    Now, I agree that any damage caused by third party events that cause damage should be fixed but if we have to pay Mandalay for ticket sales and other costs for Azalea Festival events WE LOSE OUT!!!
    And of course this:

    “ANLBC shall cause the Team to use the Ballpark as the home facility for a Class A (Advanced) or higher Minor League Baseball club affiliated with the Atlanta Braves, and home games for the Team shall be played in the Ballpark; and”

    This means of course that if the team is sold and is no longer affiliated with ANLBC (Atlanta National League Ball Club) then…….legally? No agreement.

    This deal is not sweet. This deal is not good for the city. This deal could cost much more than $37M.
    Vote “NO” in November – STOP the city from going backwards – and stop Saffo and crew from humiliating themselves and our city anymore

  • Vog46

    what happened to the NSS study?
    Both Atlanta and Mandalay now admit it was a fabrication?
    They said 135 recurring full time jobs.

    ” Ownership expects the team will bring approximately 25 full time jobs and 350 seasonal jobs.”

    25 full time jobs?
    For $58M ??????
    $2.1M per job?
    Are you guys nuts?

    The impact of 350 part time jobs will DECREASE area income levels not increase them.
    What happened to the 135 full time positions in the NSS report? Chapter 9 pg 114???
    C’mon Chuck C’mon Terry C’mon Pro side

    Was this a lie or was this a mistake?
    Either way the NSS report was just demolished and rendered useless because this is an error of egregious proportions.
    115 to 135 full time jobs is now down to 25?

    Hows does it feel to be duped by your own report?
    What other lies are in there?
    PCB fell for it hook line and sinker.
    Wow. What piece of crap that study turned out to be eh?
    $2.1M per job………….wow


  • Guest7969

    HOW MUCH are we loosing again compared to their “investment”

  • cintrek

    I will definitely vote NO for the bond referendum. As a property owner/registered resident my property tax bill came in $100 more than last year. As a single income household my income has gone down 50% ($900/mo.) in the last 2yrs, I’ve even lost 20lbs because my grocery budget had to decrease along w/ everything else-no entertainment budget for me. Baseball is such a boring game but I don’t want my taxes paying for it. Let the private investors pay for it, Saffo you pay for it out of your pocket & leave mine alone. I’m beginning to live on change & I have no clue how I’m going to pay my tax bill-are you going to pay it for me? City council/NHC commissioners when you can live on $900/mo. maybe you might understand what your constituents are living with. You do without before even thinking about raising property taxes. Internet access is the only luxury I’ve got left & that may end soon. Everyone Vote NO for the bond & vote these greedy selfcentered bastards out!!!!!!

  • Guest “Color Us Gone”

    This is undoubtedly the most dumbest city I have ever lived in (in my entire life) and undoubtedly, having the most unqualified city council members in office since Columbus discovered these shores. We moved here nearly 30 years ago for my work, and leaving for good in 4 months!!!
    Our property values fall…and fail, our property taxes go “UP-UP” to compensate our leaders stupidity, since they CANNOT balance the budget (AT ALL)…and furthermore, we drive on terrible road conditions equivalent to that time when Columbus arrived. There are no priorities in this city that have any sense at all, since Saffo and Company took over.
    Sewer lines (and roads) are rupturing weekly…they can’t find a damn hotel builder for the failing convention “off” center (wonder why)…and what does council do? They dream up and want another play thing “approved” before they are ousted from office soon enough.
    It’s a joke to read the news anymore, with government programs being cut for the needy, and the very next story you read is about these bubble heads picking our pockets for personal pleasures.
    Wilmington will never be a Myrtle Beach/Virginia Beach, or an Atlantic City, it simply will not. It’s demise is unfolding before everyone’s eyes daily and you cannot say that you don’t know it and see it coming.
    Good Luck…keep these people in office for another term, and listen out for the tumble weeds to roll down Main Street in the years to come.

  • 1981duke

    Mandalay is investing 10 million plus buying a present team,and relocating everyone to our City.
    They are investing more in Wilmington.

  • guesty

    That is correct property owners of Wilmington, time to vote no on baseball and vote these self-serving “leaders” out.

  • 1981duke

    The future is in our control,vote “YES” for the stadium,single-A Braves and Mandalay,Invest in us!

  • Guest7969

    its such a CASH COW of an idea…where are the private investors lined up at!? OH..they aren’t!

  • Guestyay

    I’m SO excited! Good work, Wilmington! PROGRESS!!!

  • Seahawkfan1

    Yeah thats real smart lets give out seats to residents so that we get no return on the investment





  • Guest7969

    you were looking to the future…you would see an empty stadium that WILMINGTON taxpayers footed the bill for…and that isn’t being used because its out of date and the team left…leaving us with about 40 million in debt along with the operating costs tacked on!

  • Guestwit

    As long as we have so called leaders like Saffo in the City and catlin in the County – we will get treats like the wasteful convention center and a ball park we so “desparately” need so these folks and their friends help themselves at our expense. Vote against the ball park bond and by all means lets send little ricky to raleigh-better there than his polluting wilmington.

  • Carol Kramer

    The Braves are trying to get us to issue municipal debt (for which Wilmington taxpayers will be responsible) to finance their stadium. This is a national scam, as outlined in this recent Bloomberg article:

    In Stadium Building Spree, U.S. Taxpayers Lose $4 Billion

    “You come back to this thin line of, ‘What is a legitimate municipal government undertaking?’” Packwood said. While he draws the line at sports venues, he said too many voters and local politicians don’t. “If the owner can get away with the public putting up part of the money, he’s going to do it.”

    Since the city will acquire the property, that means NO property taxes, right? From every angle, this is a taxpayer RIPOFF.
    “If you build it, they will come” is a line from a baseball fantasy film.

  • Guest666

    It appears that those in Wilmington have not spoken loudly enough that they do not want to pay for a baseball stadium. Or, maybe your “leaders” can’t hear so well.

  • SurfCityTom

    and let’s face it. Total costs, including land acquistion, are projected at $37 Million.

    But if read correctly, Mandalanta is only proposing to repay the city $6 Million for land costs and acquisition. And that would be over time through rent payments.

    Here are a couple of questions.

    Will Atlanta itself actually be named on the contracts? Or will this be done through some LLC or new Corporation which would shield Atlanta should the team be moved prior to the 20 year operating term for the lease? If not, Atlanta could pull the team after 2 or 3 years with no fear of financial retribution?

    What happens when the bond referendum does not pass? Do they try again? Is that why the proposed opening may be 2015?

    Did I read correctly, Mandalanta is not going to be obligated for any of the $31 Million construction costs?

    Finally, what were the details the city did not release?

  • MrT

    The city of Wilmington deserves praise for the approach taken in developing the plan to bring minor league baseball to the city. This study has been handled in a very professional manner. The time is now to show the citizens the value projected to the city and it’s residence.
    This is a difficult task as those opposed, generally oppose any progress and don’t care if their effort only leads to self humiliation. The city would be wise to expose to the voters the projected revenue stream for the stadium. It is the citizens right to make their decision based on both cost and return. Hopefully the city will produce a valuable business plan that will shut some of the clown activity down, but, if the city can’t accomplish this, those who favor baseball should lose.

  • Lisa

    I am not really for the baseball feild at all, why should I pay for something I really dont care about or care to look at. I have watch this town grow and expand, but are they really for the people or them selves. So undivided we stand. If they keep puttting everything downtown everything they are trying to crame into one spot will sink in the water. what else is the city going to down there?. So ready to sell my house and move the hell away, WILMINGTON CITY COUNCIL SUCKS!!! PAY FOR THE BASEBALL FEILD WITH YOUR TAXES NOT MINE!!!!!

  • Katherine

    Number One, they aren’t tearing down any bars. Where do you people come up with this stuff? This is going way the heck up at the north end of downtown, where Almont Shipping used to be. There are not and have never been any bars there, just mountains of toxic chemicals. But, hey, if you want to let your kids play in a toxic dump, well, that’s all on you. Maybe they can hand out hazmat suits at the park.

    Two, they have already said, dozens of times, that this will create 25 FULL TIME JOBS. 350 part time, seasonal jobs (translation: summer jobs for college kids). I don’t know what you – or the council – think is going to suddenly spring up down there. Disneyland? Downtown Wilmington IS NOT FAMILY ORIENTED. That ain’t their vibe. They are bars and non-kid friendly restaurants and antique shops and used book stores. It is not and never will be a place to take the kids for a fun day out.

    Number Three, speaking of not looking at the future, you clearly either haven’t read this ridiculous agreement or you just don’t understand what it says. THERE IS NOTHING FOR WILMINGTON HERE!! Everything, every penny, every benefit, goes to Mandalay and Atlanta. All we’re getting is screwed. We are responsible for capital maintainance, and they plan on BORROWING MORE MONEY TO FUND IT.
    We have to give Mandalay $2.9 million of the $31 million so they can go buy FURNITURE, so now we have to build the stadium with $28.1 million, but of course we’re still on the hook for all of it.
    Wilmington gets ZERO REVENUE. Braves/Mandalay keep every penny they bring in.
    The City can hold City sponsored events there BUT THEY ARE LIMITED TO A TOTAL OF 10 DAYS A YEAR. 10 IN A WHOLE YEAR! And THEY HAVE TO PAY TO USE IT! Wow, what a great deal!! We get to use our own stadium 10 days a year and we get to pay to do it!
    What, oh what was the city negotiating on all this time? Was it really just to get that free box suite for the mayor?

  • Dunno

    As a Wilmington resident, if I’m going to pay for this stadium I would except to receive two seats along the home team baseline for the next 20 years AT NO COST.

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