03/05/12 2:30 PM EST
Mariners, Padres to stay in Peoria through 2034
Lease announced Monday includes $48 million for renovations
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
"You could do a 360, and the only thing that you could see was that microwave tower and a broken down, old Milwaukee Brewers Minor League complex," Armstrong said. "The rest of it was scrub desert, orange groves and cotton fields."
The Peoria landscape has certainly changed, and it will continue to do so after Monday's announcement of a 20-year lease extension by the city of Peoria that will not only keep the Mariners and Padres here through the 2034 season, but will include $48 million in clubhouse and stadium renovations.
A total of $30 million -- $15 million for each team -- has been earmarked for clubhouse renovations that could increase the square footage of each team's facility from approximately 39,000 square feet to about 58,000.
But, as Padres president and COO Tom Garfinkel said after the press conference, intimacy is still the key.
Construction on the clubhouses will start after the end of Spring Training in 2013, with the goal of having each open and fully operational by February, 2014.
In addition, $12 million has been earmarked for improvements that would include seating enhancements, a party deck, facade improvements, a plaza area and upgrades to field and lighting.
Peoria engineering director Andy Granger said those upgrades would occur after the clubhouses are finished.
The Mariners first called Peoria home in 1993, but were strictly a road team that spring. The following year, the Padres joined them from Yuma and the stadium opened. From then on, the two teams have enjoyed a close relationship.
"The partnership has been great with the city," Garfinkel said. "This is a great facility and I think we can make it even better. Certainly our clubhouse, after 18, 19 years, can use some upgrades."
A majority of the funding for the new clubhouses and stadium improvements will be raised through the Half-Cent Sales Tax Fund. A large portion of the city of Peoria's investment will be reimbursed by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. The city of Peoria will front all financing costs.
The Mariners and Padres were the first two-team facility in Arizona. The concept has since been adopted by the Indians and Reds (Goodyear), Rockies-Diamondbacks (Scottsdale), Rangers-Royals (Surprise) and Dodgers-White Sox (Glendale).
"Major League Baseball has made us natural [Interleague] rivals, but over the years we've been natural buddies," Armstrong said. "We share a lot of information. It's good to be roommates with the Padres down here. It's been a wonderful 20 years."
It is a relationship that figures to build over the length of Monday's lease extension, Garfinkel said.
"You come out here for Spring Training and you hear the pop of the glove, the knock of the wood and you get ready for the season," Garfinkel said. "This is what Spring Training is about. You come to Peoria and this is the perfect setting for it."