Arizona baseball: Hi Corbett vote paves way for UA

2011-08-10T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T14:43:15Z Arizona baseball: Hi Corbett vote paves way for UARob O'Dell Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 10, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats baseball team could soon have a new home at Hi Corbett Field at Reid Park. The City Council approved a letter of intent authorizing a lease deal 6-0 Tuesday.

Final terms need to be hammered out, but the broad brush strokes are contained in the letter.

The UA would pay $250,000 a year to become the major tenant for five years, with a five-year extension at the school's option. The rent would be subject to a 3 percent annual inflation escalator.

The vote allows the UA to move in before the final agreement is approved.

The UA would have exclusive rights to the facility from Jan. 5 to June 18 and Aug. 10 to Dec. 1 each year. During those times the UA could veto events held at Hi Corbett, said city attorney Mike Rankin.

At other times the two sides would have to agree about an event. Certain city events would be exempted and would not need approval.

The UA would make substantial improvements, which would become the property of the city at the end of the lease.

Those improvements could include: a new outfield fence, a new video board and scoreboard, new stadium seats, renovation of the dugouts, locker rooms and clubhouses and the installations of signs identifying Hi Corbett as the home of UA baseball.

UA athletic director Greg Byrne has said the UA could put as much as $5 million into the stadium, although there is no dollar figure in the letter of intent.

The city would be responsible for general maintenance and upkeep, although Rankin said the $250,000 lease payment would easily covers those costs.

The UA, which is not subject to sales tax, would pay the city the equivalent of 2 percent sales tax on all food, beer, beverage and merchandise sales, but would not be charged sales tax on tickets. Any third party the UA subleases to would also be required to pay the 2 percent sales tax to the city.

All concessions, merchandise and ticket sales would go to the UA.

Playing at Hi Corbett would allow the UA baseball team to compete and recruit "at the highest levels," Byrne told the council. It could also allow the UA to hold regionals and super-regionals at Hi Corbett, Byrne said.

If a major-league team wants to come to Hi Corbett for spring training, Rankin said the UA would have to agree. The UA would have veto power over minor-league baseball as well, Rankin said, such as if the Triple-A Tucson Padres wanted to move to Hi Corbett.

Contact reporter Rob O'Dell at 573-4346 or rodell@azstarnet.com

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