Astros, Blue Jays in final stretch for new Palm Beach Gardens spring training home

Houston Astros spring trainingHouston Astros owner Jim Crane says his team is on the verge of signing a deal for a new Palm Beach Gardens spring training home, to be joined by the Toronto Blue Jays, who signed a letter intent to move.

The final step, according to Crane, is final approval from the city. If the approval comes, the Astros could be playing at a new Palm Beach Gardens complex in 2016. From MLB.com:

“The Blue Jays have committed and signed a letter of intent, so we’re ready to move forward,” Crane said. “That thing should be buttoned up hopefully by the end of October. We’ll get that stadium built and it will be a fabulous new facility in Palm Beach Gardens.”

The facility, which would be located along Interstate 95 near PGA Boulevard, would put five teams on Florida’s east coast for the spring. The Cardinals and Marlins share a facility in nearby Jupiter, and the Mets are just up the interstate in Port St. Lucie.

Crane said architects are already working on a design, which would have to be approved by both teams.

The Astros would play at a new complex on their own should it be ready for 2016, as the Blue Jays are committed to completing their Dunedin Stadium lease, which runs through the end of 2017, making 2018 the year for the move. Blue Jays president Paul Beeston confirmed the team had signed a letter of intent to share the complex with the Astros:

“We’ve signed a letter of intent and that’s it,” Beeston said. “That’s all it is. We’re exploring the possibility.”…

Beeston said this spring that the Blue Jays’ current complex, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, is “not an ideal situation.” The big league stadium is far enough removed from the Blue Jays’ minor league facility that buses are required to shuttle players and personnel back and forth.

The next step will be a public vote on the new facility. A huge chunk of the funding formula, $50 million from the state, has already been approved.

About Kevin Reichard

Kevin Reichard is editor and publisher of Spring Training Online.

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