tv FOX 10 News Maker Sunday FOX August 21, 2016 5:30am-6:00am MST
thanks for joining us on "newsmaker sunday." this roundabout with the arizona diamondbacks, are they going to stay or go? what's going to happen with improvements they want in the stadium. which by the way, the shocker in all of this, that stadium is now payable. can you believe that? it seems like we built that a few years ago. this is a fight right now and a battle between the county supervisors, the d'backs, taxpayers are kind of caught in the middle. we're going to talk to denny barney, the chairman of the board of supervisors, elected chairman after one year, right? they elected you chairman? >> yes. >> tell me about you before we go. we don't cover the supes as well
your background. >> my background is i was born and raised in arizona. i'm the sixth generation of my family to live here. i've had the privilege of living in other parts of the country and the world and yet come here because it's home. asu log rat. i have a specific interest and involvement in private equity-based real estate investments, and that's what i do. >> that was your business? >> that's my business currently. that's what i do when i'm not here. >> and you got into planning and zoning? >> i did serve as the commissioner of planning and zoning for maricopa county. >> why does a busy guy do that job? you talk about a thankless job. >> it certainly is a thankless job. i think in the end, in my business, we had plenty of opportunities to interact with planning and zoning commissions, and people at staff level in different municipal jurisdictions. i felt like, based on my experience and my background, and frankly the perspective that i had that i could bring perhaps a different view to that role. >> let's talk about the d'backs.
then we'll kind of backfill how we got here. they want improvements to the stadium. you guys have said that's really not the county taxpayer's business to do improvements to the stadium. is that kind of the long and short of it? >> that is the long and short of it. if i could just take us back just one step. >> go ahead. as we look at this facility that's now the fifth oldest in major league baseball. unthinkable. >> keep in mind the board of supervisors operates as the board of directors for the stadium the stadium district was formed under enabling legislation by the state legislature to levy, collect $238 million to build the stadium. on top of that, the d'backs contributed a significant amount of money well in excess of $100 itself. into the facility - the question really comes down to what are the landlord obligations? that's the stadium district and the taxpayer. and what are the d'backs as the
obligations? in any landlord-tenant dispute, sometimes it's not very clear. both parties see it differently. in the end, at the heart of this, is who makes what improvements in the facility going forward? >> it seems, though, the letter of the law would be pretty straightforward. if you're renting an apartment -- let's just put it on a base level. you're renting an apartment and the air conditioner breaks down, isn't that up to the apartment to fix it? >> yeah, that would be the landlord responsibility. >> this kind of the same thing? >> in a way, i think that is. if you want apartment, i think that would be >> so that's the new scoreboard, right? >> i'm not trying to go to the scoreboard, but in the end, that's a dispute. we've had a bit of a war of words here, and i think we can move past that. the most important issue before us today is what do we do to keep the d'backs playing at chase field through the end of their current contract, which is 2028, and hopefully beyond. the idea isn't how do we get rid of the d'backs?
there? not because they're contractually obligated but because we want them to be happy and successful in playing what i think is a beautiful facility. >> but you don't want the taxpayer on the hook for a bunch of improvements that you don't think the taxpayer should have to pay. >> the taxpayer doesn't even have an alternative to invest more money into the stadium facility. when the legislature authorized the creation of the stadium district, it was authorized to collect up to a certain amount as agreed to. >> to build >> to build the stadium, and that's it. every dollar that we collect goes back into improvement and management of the stadium >> and that money is collected how? >> we have a lease payment from the d'backs. we have additional revenues that we have from profit sharing. >> that goes into a kitty. >> that goes into a pool of resources that's used to protect and improve and enhance the stadium. >> that's nowhere near the $187 million they say they need to do these improvements.
whose responsibility and what this they looking for? >> i would argue, john, in the time since this lease was created, 1996, and the stadium was designed 20 years ago, the face of major league baseball has changed. at the time, we wanted a major league baseball franchise here in arizona. we still do. at the time, they wanted a 48,000-seat facility. that's what we built, together with their investment. today they probably need a lot less seats than that. >> half? maybe 30,000. because the nature of the way people watch baseball is different. the tv broadcasting component of baseball, the way that baseball is merchandise, is very different than it was 20 years ago. >> that's the money driver anyway. >> it really is. >> that's why the contracts went through the roof, because of the tv contracts. >> exactly. if they can't fill 48,000 seats, it makes their tv contract less valuable, and therefore, it limits their ability to be
successful. >> isn't it interesting that across the board -- just take a macro view, and you're an asu guy. asu is downsizing their stadium. d'backs are talking they want to downsize their stadium. it shows you -- and we thought about this in our industry. hd has changed everything. >> it really has. >> a lot of people don't want to go out to the stadium anymore. you're paying for a set to play baseball in. >> and the truth is i can have a great experience at the stadium, and i can have a great experience sitting at home on that i know. >> right. >> they're different experiences, but they're both great. >> that's right. we're going to take you back a couple of months. this was a piece that -- let's see. i think danielle did this piece. this was kind of the setup of how this all started, and this will take you back, and then we'll kind of get you up to date. here we go. >> we just want to have the freedom to go see because we know the answer is not here right now in the current state because they cannot fulfill that obligation. >> on march 16th, the county
diamondbacks ceo derek hall, requesting a modification to the facility's use agreement, hoping to get permission to explore other options to play in a venue other than chase field. today the county announcing their answer to that request. >> we came to the conclusion, as clearly stated in the letter of march 23rd to the diamondbacks, saying that we would not relinquish that. >> stadium district chairman clint hickman says the lease set to expire in 2028, and the team can't start looking elsewhere or start looking for a new stadium until 2024. >> the team specifically agreed that all towns in maricopa county would be irreparably harmed by any relocation of the team, and they were all made third party beneficiaries with certain rights to enforce that section. >> hall saying today it's sad we're at this point. >> it's unfortunate that we were denied that as we tried to, more or less, solve their problem and
burden and obligation that they can't fulfill. >> he says for nearly four years the team has been working with the county to resolve $178 million in deferred repairs and maintenance, the county's responsibility to pay. >> now, why would they let us do it? because we'd be surrendering them or helping them surrender their obligation. they can't do it right now. if they don't have the $187 million to keep this place open, we're actually doing them and taxpayers a favor hopefully, so we're not turning to the taxpayers to what they can't. it's relief. >> okay, break that down for us. we're here with denny barney, who's the chairman of the maricopa county board of supervisors. do you think that they were -- in the language of that letter, they talk about explore other options. i know in my world what that means, you're looking to another station to go to, right? this means going to another city under this thing. get out from -
exploring options to play major league baseball outside of chase field. i don't think at the heart that's what they really want to do. i think they want to figure out how to stay in chase field. >> that's leverage.p>> with the will move with the way baseball has moved. derek said in his clip that we just watched, he talked about that we can't provide the cash. in fact, we can't. we don't have the ability, as a quasi-governmental body to create a revenue stream we're not authorized to create. >> that's what taxes are for. >> that is what taxes are for. >> to give them the money they need to do these things, you would have had to find a revenue stream. that means you would have to come up with a levee, a tax somewhere. >> that's money out of your pocket and my pocket. that's taxes. we don't have the legislative authority nor the desire to do that. the biggest issue is how do we
facility to be successful based on what baseball looks like today? well, we think the offer they have in front of us, this opportunity -- and believe me, we haven't been sitting idly by the last two or three years. this bubbles up recently, but we've been engaged in this issue trying to put a business perspective, a business mindset into this problem for quite some time. city of phoenix is not in a position to do something, it would appear. >> they talked a good game. >> they certainly have, and think the city would be a natural party to participate, the city of phoenix, but they're dealing with the suns and possibly a coyotes deal right now, which is around $500 million. >> and still a budget problem, a budget crisis. >> and i think there's voter fatigue at some point about continuing to ask for more money for things that are outside of core services. and i truly believe that the
what the d'backs are looking for today, these enhancements, is to bring somebody in, a capital source, that would allow the d'backs to really pivot the facility, the stadium into something that's different than it is today >> so that gets us to the group that you guys voted to enter into at least negotiations with, an outside group, outside of arizona, right? >> yes. >> the name just escaped me. they are -- >> integral. >> integral, exactly. so this agreement potentially with t investors who would come in and buy it, right? >> in essence, that's what we're looking at. we're looking at the option of bringing in an outside group that will, in essence, purchase the facility and maintain all of the rights and privileges that the taxpayers have now under the current facility use agreement, through the balance of this term, and hopefully invest enough money to keep the d'backs in that facility much longer.
like they're buying a piece of land they can develop. they're buying an asset that's already there. what's in it for them? >> i think there's portions -- when you look at the overall yield or intensity of the development on the site that chase field sits on, there's pockets within that overall site, that master plan, that have really unique and powerful opportunities for development. the stadium district is not in a position, nor should it be, to try to go out and get in the vert mixed use, retail, residential, restaurants. that's not the space that we're in. >> okay. so that's where they would make their money is developing it with other uses. >> correct. >> the problem with that is the life of these stadiums we're looking at now is 20, 25 years. then the team wants to move. you start building these kind of hard assets out there, you may not -- they may be around for a while, but not forever.
that takes us through the 2027 season. >> we're not that far away. we're ten years away. >> so what this really means is that this potential investor has to find a way to induce the d'backs to be excited about staying in chase field longer than 2028. everybody wins. we were asked the question, what's the value of the underlying real estate? the value of the underlying real estate, which we're going to determine through process that determines fair market value is the value after you've removed the stadium because either it's a major league facility in operation. it's a giant liability like the coliseum. and you don't have a tenant that has a lease hold interest, and
can to keep the d'backs playing in chase field for as long as we possibly can because we think that's the best thing for the taxpayers. >> i want to just point this out before we go to break. we asked the d'backs to be part of this today, as we always do. they wrote back, thanks so much for the offer, but we will respectfully decline. if you're speaking about these recent developments, we'd simply ask that you include this statement from the attorney representing us on the matter. leo buse. >> very capable lawyer. >> leo says, nothing new has occurred from the d'backs perspective as we continue to gather facts on this proposal. now that it's been approved by the county, the team has given me authority to speak with their representatives, and we expect to interact and discuss the proposal, end quote. do you think they're relieved, in a way, that you're looking for an outside agent to buy this thing? it may give them relief and get them where they want to go. >> i truly believe the d'backs
baseball in chase field. they've been a great community partner. they've been a great asset to the state and to the county. we just don't have the ability to give them what they need in the face of where baseball is today versus where it was 20 years ago. i think the d'backs will pursue this. they'll look at this as a great opportunity. this may or may not work. this is a unique approach to try to repurpose and provide additional capital. >> and if it doesn't work, we're going to talk about what those options are with d who's the chairman of the board with the maricopa county board of supervisors. we're talking d'backs and the
talking about the diamondbacks, and this tussle they've been in about whose responsible for the improvements they want to chase denny barney is our guest on newsmaker sunday. he's the incoming chairman of the board for maricopa county. hickman is the current chairman. i'm getting ahead of myself. you come in as chairman when? >> in january. assuming my colleagues elect me to represent them as chairman. >> that light you see isn't the end of the tunnel, it's the freight train coming at you? >> correctly stated. >> let's go to a steve kraft piece that kind of puts us where we are right now in this deal of bringing in a third party
work out a deal with the diamondbacks. take a look. >> reporter: it's no secret the diamondbacks and maricopa county have struggled over how to pay for repairs and upkeep here at chase field. but now there may be a break in this impasse. the maricopa county stadium district hopeful private investors can put money into the ballpark and work with the d'backs to make chase field a continuing success story. >> the great philosopher bruce arians said no risk it, no biscuit, right? to step out and try to do something great for the community, and that community is the central phoenix core to continue to keep diamondback baseball here from hopefully 2028 and beyond. >> reporter: today's vote is for a letter of intent with stadium real estate partners 2llc, made up of investors from new york, atlanta, and toronto. the price, $60 million, but that's a starting off point.
wedded to the idea of $60 million or not because we have to get this appraisal done, and that's going to tell what fair market value is. and fair market value to me is not a fire sale. it's not pennies on the dollar. it's the fair market value. >> reporter: the diamondbacks would have to sign off on the deal to have it move forward. >> that was steve kraft. this is denny barney, who's on the maricopa county board of supervisors, and he is the incoming, will be in january, the chairman of the board. you like this deal, and you're of the real estate world. party come in and buy this stadium is the best solution you've got right now? >> let me answer that this way. if your primary objective is to find a way to keep the d'backs playing at chase field, which is the stadium district board of directors primary objective, then this deal is, i think, worthy of pursuit because it provides additional capital that we do not have access to. we don't have the ability to collector levy, and i think it's frankly something that the d'backs will be excited to
them to meet some of the needs that they have relative to these enhancements. >> one more time, explain this, because i think to the lay people out there, they look at this, and even if they don't like the idea of ponying up for the stadium improvements, they may also look at it and say, this land has got to be worth more than $60 million. don't give it away. it's ours. we bought it as taxpayers. what would you say to those folks who think maybe you're getting the short end of the deal if it's $60 million or maybe $70 million, that it's worth much >> i would first start, john, by saying the taxpayers collectively, we as a whole invested $238 million because we believed in baseball. we wanted baseball here in arizona. we want it at maricopa county. that tax was collected across maricopa county through the tourism and sports authority. the d'backs invested another $110 million on top of that to build the facility. all of that is great, but it's a depreciatable asset.
only there if we can provide the enhancements necessary to keep a major league team playing in the facility. if we're focused just about underlying real estate, i don't think we would do anything. we would just let the lease run out and hope that they leave. then we tear down the stadium, and maybe we try to sell the real estate. that's not what we want. we want the d'backs to stay here and be successful and play in chase field through the end of the term that they agreed to, and hopefully much, much longer. >> what is that parcel worth if you just took the stadium off of it? if what would the parcel be in the middle of downtown phoenix? >> that's a great question. there's no comp that has a 20-acre parcel in that district of downtown phoenix. so you really can't compare it. you appreciate this with the work you've done. you can't compare it to a one or two-acre parcel across town or down the road because of the size of the parcel. in the end, as i said earlier, we're going to figure out through the appraisal what the
going to say what's it going to cost us from an estimate standpoint to remove the stadium, and that's going to tell us what the underlying value of the hard asset is. >> these will all be known? >> they should be through the appraisal process. >> do you suspect that land -- do you have a ballpark? you're in this business. what do you think the land might be worth if you took the stadium off it? >> i don't want to respond circuitously, but there's so many factors what's the zoning, what can be developed there? that determines what the land can be used for. >> it's huge. >> that's a large piece of property kind of on the southeast portion of the central business district. >> there anything instructive in the fact the coliseum is still sitting there, to a great degree, idle that there is a place we could look to and say, okay, not much has happened. why is that? >> at some point these facilities become a liability, and what we don't want to do is let this facility get to a point where it's so far out of sync with what the demands of a major
league baseball. >> do you think this whole dynamic has changed to where teams can no longer hold cities hostage? that they don't have that kind of leverage now. that cities aren't going to just write a check. or do you think there are plenty of cities that would. >> perhaps there is cities that want to invest in a team, like we did in maricopa county. i don't think we made a bad bet. we invested $238 million, and if you aggregate the value that we received in the first 18 years of the collection as well as indirect economic benefit, i think we far exceeded the $238 million. >> absolutely. it's been a good investment for the taxpayer. >> so here we've still got 12 more years on the lease. that's additional revenue that enures to the benefit of the taxpayers. we've got the thought of selling he facility. that revenue goes back to the
we're talking about the diamondbacks and their push to try to get $187 million in repairs to their baseball stadium, chase field. barney denny is our guest today on newsmaker sunday. he's on the county board of supervisors. will be the chairman in january. you've got a third party now interested in buying chase field, buying the whole property. if the d'backs don't like this approach, and they say, no, we don't like this. we don't want this arrangement. then what happens? >> then we're back to where we were before we received the offer. keep in us unsolicited. people across the country, those that are interested in baseball, were paying attention, and this is a group that has significant experience in urban development. >> they came to you? >> they came to us. we did not approach them. they came to us. we had the decision of do we try to run this to the ground and see if there's any value? that's really what we've been doing the last few weeks before it even became public. >> they're viable. they would have to put in $100
here, right? >> perhaps that or more. and the agreement requires they do that within the first -- they come up with a capital improvement plan within the first year or two of ownership. >> there anything in this whole deal that you've seen where you feel the d'backs are actually angling to move? >> you know, other than the first letter that talked about playing major league baseball outside of chase field, we haven't heard that from the d'backs. we believe they want to stay in chase field. we think that downtown phoenix is the right place for d'backs to have a home, to play, and to be successful. >> do you think on balance, we've got 15 seconds, sports is a good investment for a community? >> i don't know if it's a good investment. i can tell you that the investment of the $238 million by the maricopa county taxpayers has so far proven to be a good investment. >> good to see you. thank you for coming on. maybe we'll get the diamondbacks next time. we hope so. thanks for being with us on "news maker sunday."
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of the valley soaked after the monsoon rolls in. we'll tell you who was hit the hardest and parts of the valley soaked after the monsoon rolls in last night. we'll tell you who was hit the hardest and who may be expecting more today. and a precious pet parrot stolen from a phoenix home. the owner makes a plea to the crooks to bring the bird back. sit back and relax while others pack up your stuff for free. we'll tell you about the moving help whenever you need it, but there's some small print. we'll explain. we begin with a fox 10 news