Despite an impending deadline that ends the exclusive negotiating period between Mesa and the Chicago Cubs over a new spring-training facility, Mesa officials say a new agreement is in the works, and they’re confident the Cubs are committed to the Phoenix suburb for the long haul.
The original agreement between the Cubs and Mesa ends July 12, which in theory would free the Cubs to negotiate with other parties for a new spring-training facility. We’re told by Cubs officials that’s not likely to happen, though: with Mesa poised to pick up the estimated $84 million cost of a new training complex, there’s little doubt a new complex will happen. The much-ballyhooed competition between Florida and Arizona over a Cubs complex never really materialized, to be honest: the inclination by Cubs officials was always to stay in Arizona, where the franchise has put down some pretty deep roots.
So it looks like a new agreement committing the Cubs to Mesa could come before the end of the month. The only real variable here: Mesa voters must approve city spending on a new complex and a hotel tax hike in a November referendum. Should the referendum not pass (we’ve not seen any polling on the question), the Cubs would be free to walk away from the Mesa deal.