Scottsdale moves forward with $50M in renovations for spring-training stadium

Take a peek inside Scottsdale Stadium, Cactus League home of the San Francisco Giants. Michael Chow, Arizona Republic

Shortly after spring training ends, Scottsdale will begin renovations on its ballpark after years of discussion about updating the aging stadium in Old Town.

The Scottsdale City Council approved the first phase of the work Tuesday as the city continues to hammer out the details of a long-term lease with the San Francisco Giants and the Scottsdale Charros, a civic group that operates the ballpark each spring.

The Giants have trained in Scottsdale for 35 years.The current contract expires in 2025.

The Giants were last year’s third most-attended team in the Cactus League, which includes 15 teams spread across 10 ballparks in metro Phoenix. The spring-training season annually fills Scottsdale hotels, resorts, restaurants and shops with visitors.

Scottsdale Stadium, at 7408 E. Osborn Road, opened in 1992 and is the second-oldest ballpark in the Cactus League. The stadium was last updated in 2005.

The first phase of renovations are estimated at $50.6 million, with the team and Charros kicking in a portion of the costs.

Work will begin in April and wrap up by the start of the next spring-training season.

"The Giants and the Charros are family to us in Scottsdale," Councilman Guy Phillips said ahead of the vote. "It’s such a great part of our city, and this is an exciting evening for me."

What’s being upgraded?
A rendering of the new clubhouse and events center planned as part of he upcoming renovations to Scottsdale Stadium in Old Town.

(Photo: Courtesy of City of Scottsdale)

City officials plan to modernize the ballpark and increase its usability for events beyond baseball.

Renovations will be done in two phases.

The first phase will include:

a new clubhouse that will have an events center that operates throughout the year.additional shaded areas for the right field Charros Lodge area.upgrades to the main stadium entrance off Drinkwater Boulevard.parking lot upgrades.an expanded press box. renovations to the right field concourse to include standing room and bleachers.

The city and team will develop options for phase two improvements once phase one is underway.

The city hopes to have plans and costs for phase two of construction finalized by July, according to Scottsdale Community Services Director Bill Murphy.

Murphy said more than 200 letters were submitted in support of the project. Scottsdale resident Alex McLaren, who lives a baseball’s throw away from the stadium, offered his support.

"The fans have always been very gracious walking through our neighborhood," McLaren said. "This is gonna be great for the city, great for the Charros and great for the Giants."

Who’s paying for what?

Scottsdale will pay as much as $35 million for the estimated $50.6 million cost of the first phase. The city will pay back its borrowing with bed-tax collections, the fee paid by hotel guests in the city.

The Giants and the Scottsdale Charros will also kick in money, detailed in a memorandum of understanding:

San Francisco Giants: $15.1 million.Scottsdale Charros: $2.7 million.Arizona Sports Services, the concessionaire, is expected to contribute another $2.5 million for phase one, which will be addressed through a separate set of agreements with San Francisco Giants and the city.

The Charros and the team will make the payments over the next 20 years.

History of the stadium
An aerial of the old Scottsdale Stadium in the mid- to late 1950s.

Scottsdale has a long history with spring training.

Scottsdale Stadium, near Osborn Road and Drinkwater Boulevard, is on the same site as the original stadium that opened in 1956 as the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles. Through the years, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the Oakland A’s and the Giants have all called the stadium home.

The old park was razed in 1991 and the current stadium opened for the 1992 season.

The Giants have played in Scottsdale since 1984 and have been hosted by the Charros since they came to the city.

Past agreements with the Charros have required that the group spend all net revenues from the agreement in ways that benefit the city through local charities.

Keeping the Giants in Scottsdale
No. 3. The San Francisco Giants drew 155,656 fans to Scottsdale Stadium in 2018. Per game attendance average: 9,729

The city aims to have a new deal with the team and the Charros in the next 30-45 days, Murphy said.

City staffers are negotiating a deal to guarantee the Charros will host the Giants for spring training at Scottsdale Stadium through at least 2044, with two possible five-year extensions.

Several provisions still under negotiation include:

increased payments to the city from the Giants and the Charros.rules for the team’s use of the stadium outside of spring training.moving player development activity from Indian School Park in Scottsdale to the empty Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix. The Giants will assume the costs for the relocation, facility improvements and maintenance at the Papago Sports Complex.

Once negotiations are completed, the council will vote on the agreement.

"It certainly is important for us that the relationship is good between the Giants and ourselves and the Charros," Mayor Jim Lane said. "We still have issues to work out, I think it’s to all of our benefit that that comes together in good form."

Murphy asked for the continued support of the council in the coming weeks to finalize a deal for the Giants to stay in Scottsdale.

"We have a lot of work still to move forward on, but I think it will be really worthwhile down the line," Murphy said.

Have a tip out of Scottsdale? Reach the reporter Lorraine Longhi at llonghi@gannett.com or 480-243-4086. Follow her on Twitter @lolonghi.

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