Long Beach Makes Pitch To Angels After Anaheim Land Deal Fails
Long Beach Arena, Elephant Lot
Long Beach area and the “elephant lot” via Google Earth.

The Anaheim City Council met on Tuesday to discuss their plans for the Angel Stadium land sale moving forward after alleged corruption from mayor Harry Sidhu, and they ultimately decided to unanimously vote to cancel the deal, which could cause a large legal battle.

But it could also cause the Angels and owner Arte Moreno to begin their search for a new home city and stadium, and there will surely be multiple suitors.

Long Beach is trying to push its way to the top of that list after missing out on getting a deal done with them in 2019, and they already released a statement sharing their interest in bringing the Angels to their city.

“In February 2019, Long Beach began preliminary discussions on the potential for a waterfront stadium in Long Beach. Those initial discussions came to a conclusion in December 2019 when the Angels chose to enter exclusive negotiations with the City of Anaheim,” Long Beach city manager’s office said in a statement.

“The City of Long Beach has long sought to activate the 13-acre Elephant Lot parcel next to the Convention Center for a project that can bring significant community benefit, additional activation of the Downtown waterfront and benefits to the coastal region. All documents from those initial negotiations have been made public, and no negotiations have continued since those initial discussions.

“If the Angels are interested in continuing those initial discussions, Long Beach would reengage in those discussions and seek direction from the City Council.”

In their previous negotiation in 2019, Long Beach and the Angels discussed using a 55-acre area of land that would have ended up being similar to what the Angels and Anaheim had agreed to, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:

According to the original proposal, the Long Beach stadium would be built on what is known as the “Elephant Lot,” a 13-acre site where circus elephants used to gather. In 2019, the city and the Angels discussed options for a 55-acre proposal, which would have enabled the team to surround the stadium with some of the same entertainment concepts that had been planned around Angel Stadium.

In the process, the Long Beach Arena would have been demolished. At the time, the Long Beach City Council authorized negotiations on a land parcel that would have enveloped the ballpark site and included the city’s convention center, performing arts center, arena and a greenbelt between Shoreline Drive and the Pacific Ocean.

The previous deal was agreed to in December 2019 when Anaheim agreed to sell Angel Stadium and its surrounding land to SRB Management, which is owned by Moreno. In return, SRB Management agreed to pay $150 million in cash and another $170 million in community benefits to the city of Anaheim, which would be used to build affordable housing and a large public park.

However, that deal was put on hold when an FBI investigation into Sidhu began for alleged corruption. He is being accused of asking for campaign contributions in exchange for using his power to get the deal completed, which would have fulfilled a campaign promise to keep the Angels in Anaheim.

Angels committed to playing out lease

While the Angels may end up moving cities eventually, that likely wouldn’t happen until 2030, after the club’s lease at Angel Stadium expires.

They are reportedly committed to playing out the lease that expires after 2029, but they also have the option to extend it to 2038. Either way, a potential new city would have more than enough time to build a new stadium for the Halos.

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