Biloxi council to take action on proposed baseball stadium

The ballpark will sit on Beau Rivage property north of its downtown Biloxi resort. Home plate will be near I-110 and Howard Avenue.
The ballpark will sit on Beau Rivage property north of its downtown Biloxi resort. Home plate will be near I-110 and Howard Avenue.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This is the week Biloxi city leaders decide whether to move forward with plans to build a baseball stadium and parking garage next to the I-110 loop downtown. Mayor AJ Holloway has called for a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

The three items under consideration include:

1) Authorizing a ground lease and sublease agreement with Beau Rivage Resorts "for the development of a baseball stadium, entertainment facility, and other economic development projects."

2) Authorizing a stadium sublease and use agreement with the Mississippi Professional Baseball, LLC, "for the development of a baseball stadium and its use for professional baseball and other entertainment events."

3) Authorizing a Taxable General Obligation Bond not to exceed $21 Million "for the purpose of raising money to provide funds for erecting athletic stadiums, repairing and equipping athletic fields and purchasing buildings or land therefore, and for repairing, improving, adorning and equipping the same; constructing, improving or paving streets, sidewalks, driveways, parkways, walkways or parking facilities and purchasing land therefore; and for related purposes."

Under the current proposal, the city would lease land from the Beau Rivage for construction of the stadium and parking garage. The city would then lease the stadium to a baseball team, and lease the parking garage back to the Beau Rivage.

At first glance, it looks life a standard lease. But a closer look reveals much more.

For instance, Beau Rivage will have naming rights for the stadium, while the city retains naming rights to the field. But only if it's not a Beau Rivage competitor.

The casino will maintain the parking garage that will be used by Beau Rivage employees, and insure the garage, while the city maintains the stadium and insures it.

Any improvements the city makes to the stadium in excess of $100,000 will have to be approved by Beau Rivage. And any concessionaires hired by the city to provide service at the stadium would also have to be approved by Beau Rivage.

The city will lease the land owned by Beau Rivage for the stadium for $1 a year for 20 years. The city will also be required to build and maintain a pedestrian bridge leading from the parking garage to the casino across Highway 90.

Of course, with a document that runs 33 pages long, we're just hitting some of the highlights of the proposed lease. You can read the entire stadium lease agreement showing the terms and conditions between the city and Beau Rivage:

You can also read the team agreement detailing the proposed sublease between the city, the baseball team and Beau Rivage:

Monday afternoon, President and COO of MGM Resorts International Regional Operations George P. Corchis, Jr. released a statement on the proposed lease, calling it a "win-win-win" for all parties involved.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is far bigger than baseball. We see this dynamic new entertainment and sports complex as a catalyst for economic growth. This is the beginning of our future. A future that includes a more robust downtown and walkable district, the development of the Caillavet St. corridor, more economic development and more tourism to Biloxi and the three coastal counties," Corchis wrote.

"We see it as a Win-Win-Win. It is about MGM Resorts giving back to the community and partnering and recognizing all of the great work the State has done and the City has done to bring this opportunity to fruition. Professional baseball will not only improve the quality of life for those of us that live here, but will be a tremendous boost to Gulf Coast tourism. This will spark economic development and entice more people and visitors to come to downtown Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

The public meeting is Tuesday at Biloxi City Hall beginning at 10am.

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