The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority last week approved a $8.2 million payment to the city of Mesa to fund renovations of Hohokam Stadium as the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.
The city-owned stadium is currently the spring training site for the Chicago Cubs, who are moving to a new bond-financed stadium next year. The contract with the Oakland A’s will begin in 2015.
Mesa will issue up to $17.5 million of revenue bonds to finance improvements to Hohokam. The bonds will be supported by allocations from ASTA’s revenue from a 1% hotel tax and a 3.25% tax on car rentals in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.
Due to a slowdown in the authority’s revenues and a number of projects to be funded, Mesa officials don’t expect to receive the $8.2 million until 2020. Until then, debt service on the bonds will come from the Mesa’s general fund and the sale of city-owned land.
Mesa agreed to fund the first $15 million of improvements to the stadium, with the A’s and the city splitting the next $5 million of costs. The team will pay for any expenses over the $20 million limit.
Mesa voters approved an $84 million general obligation bond package in 2010 to fund a new training facility for the Cubs.
The city will also use proceeds from $200 million of utility revenue bonds approved in 2010 for infrastructure upgrades at the complex.
The Cubs facility is currently under construction and is to be ready for spring training in 2014.