Iowa Cubs owner to extend $16K lease for Des Moines' Principal Park
Principal Park's $16,000 annual lease to Iowa Cubs owner Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH) will be extended under an agreement that goes before the Des Moines City Council Monday.
- It's the equivalent of about $1.40 a seat for the 11,500-capacity city-owned stadium, team clubhouse, parking lots and surrounding grounds. The new lease will run until 2032.
Yes, and: The city council is also set to approve spending nearly $8 million on the first of a five-phase plan to upgrade the park. Phase 1 includes clubhouse improvements and mechanical upgrades.
- That's more than $2 million above last month's estimate.
- DBH, which took ownership of the Cubs last year, will also make a nearly $1.3 million contribution towards the first phase.
Why it matters: The extension comes at a time when millions of dollars in improvements are necessary for the park to remain in compliance with new Minor League Baseball (MiLB) facility requirements.
Catch up fast: Principal Park opened in 1992 and is among the oldest Triple-A stadiums in the nation.
- City leaders have long viewed the facility as an amenity to help generate business and tourism.
- The lease amount has not changed since the park opened in 1992.
Reality check: Annual lease payments to DSM traditionally represent only a fraction of the investment made by owners, Michael Gartner — the Cubs' previous owner of more than 20 years — told Axios Thursday.
- He estimates the team made an annual average of $500,000 in facility improvements that were outside of the lease requirements when he was owner.
- DBH's contribution required under the proposed lease is just the beginning of the group's longer-term investments, Sam Bernabe, the team's general manager, told Axios Thursday.
What's next: The costs, timelines and scope of later phases will largely depend on city budget decisions and fundraising, Bernabe said.
- A parking garage, shopping or restaurants are ideas in the park's master plan.
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