City Approves Memorandum of Understanding with Houston Astros

(Fayetteville, N.C.) – Tonight, the City Council unanimously approved the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Fayetteville and the Houston Astros, which allows the City to move forward on developing a definitive agreement which, if signed, will occur in a 45 to 60-day window following the signing of the MOU.

This MOU is a non-binding obligation that demonstrates a commitment to continue to work diligently and in good faith toward the objectives outlined in the MOU, and has no effect unless and until both the City and the Astros mutually agree and fully execute the definitive agreement.

“The City Council views this project as so much more than a baseball stadium – we see it as an economic development catalyst for Fayetteville,” Mayor Robertson said. “As we move forward in this process, we are taking an approach that will benefit our community economically and provide our residents with excellent entertainment, retail and dining options, in addition to being able to see some world-class baseball in downtown Fayetteville.”

The next steps in this process will be to develop a definitive agreement with the Astros, further refining those points agreed upon in the MOU, as well as adding in any new criteria the City may decide upon in this period. The definitive agreement, if agreed upon, will cement the relationship between the City and the Astros to the point where we would then begin taking steps to build the stadium.

Below are some of the more salient points from the Memorandum of Understanding, which the Council signed this evening:

  • The City can terminate the MOU if an acceptable financing plan is not developed and approved.
  • The stadium will be completed in time for the 2019 playing season, with a 30-year lease that commences upon initial occupancy of the venue.
  • The City is guaranteed a Minor League Baseball team for the entire 30-year lease term.
  • The stadium will be a multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue, which in addition to hosting minor league baseball, can also accommodate outdoor concerts, other sporting events that include high school and college baseball tournaments, high school and college football and soccer games, the Iron Mike Marathon, the Dogwood Festival, the International Folk Festival, community events such as the Special Olympics Torch Run, the Veterans Day parade, and family friendly events such as the Dickens Festival.
  • The building of the baseball stadium is anticipated to generate considerable new spending and a resulting economic impact on an annual basis amount to $7.2 million in annual economic output, $1.7 million in annual labor income and $365,000 in additional taxes.
  • The stadium is expected to be a catalyzing economic development tool that attracts and retains business, provides national exposure and increases civic and community pride, and provides for an improved quality of life for local residents.
  • The City will work with the Astros to coordinate design and construction of the venue, and agree to utilize local firms and suppliers and encourage the participation of minority and woman-owned businesses where feasible.
  • The City will finance and construct the venue, which will be designed for multiple uses.
  • The Astros would be obligated to provide a full-season, affiliated Minor League Baseball team that is a member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues and manage and pay for operations and maintenance of the stadium.
  • Deviations in the construction, which could result in venue costs exceeding budget must be approved by the City, unless paid for by the Astros.
  • The Astros will pay the City of Fayetteville yearly rent on the stadium beginning in the amount of $250,000 and increasing after every fifth year for a total sum of more than $9 million.
  • The Astros and Minor League Baseball will guarantee 70 home games per season. The City gets 50% of naming rights revenues on the stadium and will jointly market the naming rights to the venue.
  • The City will assist the Astros in conducting a parking study to demonstrate adequate parking within ½ mile of the stadium, which is in compliance with the requirements set forth in the Major League Baseball rules.