According to estimates, the City of Pensacola faces nearly $2 million in repairs and upgrades at Blue Wahoo Stadium – $1,975,300. The majority of the capital expenditures – $1,916,500 – are Major League Baseball requirements, such as installing new MLB standards for the playing field, stadium lights, and bullpens.
The repairs are items the city should have created a capital reserve to handle, such as seating, painting and elevator repairs – $58,800.
The Pensacola City Council will discuss at today’s agenda review Mayor Grover Robinson’s recommendation: “That City Council approve Amendment No. 5 to the Northwest Florida Professional Baseball LLC (NFPB) lease agreement for the stadium at the Vince S. Whibbs Community Maritime Park (CMP), which provides for the redistribution of park revenues, the shift of responsibility for maintenance and capital improvements, and extends the lease for an additional two 5-year terms. Further, that City Council authorize the Mayor to execute all necessary documents related to the implementation of this lease amendment.”
Rather than the city use its reserves or borrowing the funds, the mayor is proposing that the Pensacola Blue Wahoos pay for the capital improvements and be repaid by shifting some of the stadium’s revenues – $532,997 – and parking, $129,042 to the team. The team would also pick up several operational expenses – $333,929. A net cash flow increase of $328,109 annually to the team – which would let the team re-coup its capital expenditures in about six years.
In turn, the Blue Wahoos will agree to sign a new lease for two 5-year terms.
The city has four other options:
- Find the $1.975 million and have the team sign a five-year lease.
- Borrow the money and pay it back in five years. Team signs a five-year lease and renegotiates in 2026.
- Borrow the money and pay it back in 10 years. Teams signs two five-year leases.
- Don’t make the capital improvements and lose MLB affiliated team.