The big A

The Big A at Angel Stadium of Anaheim sits on the east side of the parking lot next to the 57 Freeway. 

Long Beach’s negotiations with the Los Angeles Angels baseball team will continue at the City Council’s Tuesday, March 19, meeting.

The council is scheduled to meet with Shoreline Investments, LLC, to discuss the 13-acre waterfront property known as the “elephant lot,” which Long Beach owns, during its closed session meeting. City spokesman Kevin Lee confirmed the corporation is affiliated with the Angels, although he said he did not have any further information about their relationship.

According to the California Secretary of State’s website, Shoreline Investments was registered in 1998 and is currently represented by David Fred Charles in La Jolla. Charles did not respond to a request for comment.

Marie Garvey, a spokeswoman for the Angels, confirmed that negotiations with Long Beach are ongoing and that Shoreline Investments is “the entity we are using for the discussions.”

Long Beach city officials remained tight-lipped on the issue.

“Talks are still early,” Lee said in an email. Mayor Robert Garcia simply described the negotiations as “on-going” in a statement.

While those talks will continue in Long Beach on Tuesday, Anaheim officials also will discuss the issue during thier own council meeting that day.

Anaheim is waiting for an appraisal of the current 155-acre Angel Stadium site, which is due back in three to four months.

Negotiations with the team are “still in the beginning stages,” an Anaheim report said, but the appraisal is expected to inform discussions about developing parking lots around the stadium.

The Angels also recently brought on development consulting firm Brooks Street, which previously worked on plans for a $450 million mixed-use project adjacent to the stadium that hasn’t yet been built.

Garvey called the move a positive step that shows the team is serious about talks with Anaheim.

In response to news that the team also appears serious about talking to Long Beach, Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said, “We remain focused on and confident about the opportunity in Anaheim.”

He added that the team engaging a development consultant “speaks to the opportunity we believe we have here in Anaheim.”

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu went a step further.

“We’re undistracted by other overtures and are positive about the path ahead of us in Anaheim,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to continued talks with the team about an agreement that works for our residents and Angels fans.”

Meanwhile, MLB experts still believe an Angels relocation is unlikely. Kevin Reichard, publisher of the website Ballpark Digest, said on Friday, March 15, that he believes moving to Long Beach would be a “Plan C” for the team, with staying in Anaheim being Plan A, and relocating to another, undisclosed city being Plan B.

For the Angels’ part, Garvey said, “While cities are always reaching out to us, we haven’t met with any other cities besides Anaheim and Long Beach.”

But Reichard said there are plenty of reasons why any move from Anaheim would be a long shot.

“It’s hard to envision any new sports facility being opened in California that doesn’t include some sort of adjacent development,” he said, “and that’s one of the issues with Long Beach. You’re not talking about some huge tract of land where you can do 120 acres of entertainment next to the ballpark.”

But, he admitted, he doesn’t view the prospect as impossible.

“Who knows?” he said. “I don’t think it’s surprising that the Angels are talking to Long Beach fairly seriously. I think they’d be stupid not to. But it’ll be a challenge to make the numbers work under any new ballpark, in terms of public spending.”

Whatever happens, Reichard said he believes the Angels will make a decision in the next few months — relatively quickly, as far as these types of negotiations go.

“I think the Angels are under some duress to make some sort of decision fairly soon,” he said. “I think Anaheim wants a resolution, as well, and another reason to strike quickly is that interest rates are still fairly low.”

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