Funding for a new Atlanta Braves spring complex is close to completion, as the team and Sarasota County officials await word on a $20 million state grant to close the financial circle.
The total cost of the project to bring Braves spring training to southern Sarasota County is expected to be between $75 million and $80 million, and most of the funding is already in place after county, city and developer approvals. Still, there’s a big piece of the funding puzzle to be addressed: $20 million in state money.
The developer of the West Villages town center, where the complex would be located, has applied for $20 million in state grants from a fund designed to keep MLB teams training in Florida. There is no deadline for the state to approve the grant, but officials usually respond in a timely manner. And there are some deadlines approaching on the design and construction levels if the complex is to open for spring training in February 2019. From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
“There’s still a ways to go,” said Sarasota County Economic Development Director Jeff Maultsby, who has helped lead negotiations with the team for more than two years.
“We’re just waiting on them to complete their review, do their due diligence on the application from the West Villages,” Maultsby said. “As soon as they’ve got their decision, they’ll let us know … that will be the final piece of funding and of this capital stack, if you will.”…
In addition to the state grant, one more final development agreement must still be presented to the county, North Port and West Villages boards for final approval, Maultsby said. This agreement is a kind of capstone to the litany of documents the parties have agreed to throughout the spring and summer and will detail all of those financial, construction and operating commitments.
The Braves will train at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and play at Champion Stadium in 2018.