The City of Scottsdale has approved a deal with City of Phoenix to relocate the San Francisco Giants’ player development operations from Indian School Park to Papago Sports Complex, which sits on the Phoenix side of the border between the two cities.
The Scottsdale City Council approved a 35-year lease agreement with Phoenix on Nov. 26 that began Dec. 1 and will end in 2053. The council concurrently agreed to then sublease the facilities to the Giants.
Papago Sports Complex will house the Giants’ year-round player development program and some Spring Training-related activities that currently reside at Indian School Park following facilities upgrades detailed in the lease agreement.
Scottsdale Stadium will remain the Spring Training home for the San Francisco Giants.
Indian School Park has been used by the Giants since 1986 and underwent a significant upgrade in 2005.
But it has “proved to be inadequate for the expansion of year round Giants’ Player Development Program,” according to city documents.
The Papago facility is expected to be operational by January 2021, and Indian School Park will continue to house the Giants program in the interim.
The new lease will allow for expanded public use of the facilities at Indian School Park and Scottsdale Stadium for youth and adult teams and could also open up revenue generating opportunities for the city, according to a City Council memo about the lease.
Murphy said Scottsdale also agreed to let some youth and adult teams displaced by the Papago deal use the facilities at Indian School Park, and those teams will be scheduled like any other organization that wants to reserve the fields for use.
The Giants have also agreed to hold at least four baseball clinics for local youth each year.
Murphy acknowledged that the construction at Papago will put the situation “in disarray for the next few years” as multiple users vie for time at Indian School Park, but he anticipates that will clear up once the Giants are relocated to the new facilities.
The lease agreement between the cities calls for annual lease payments of between $50,000 and $75,000 beginning in 2022. The total value of the lease is $1.875 million.
Annual payments will be $50,000 between 2022 and 2031, $65,000 between 2032 and 2041, $70,000 between 2041 and 2046, and $75,000 from 2047 to 2053.
Under the terms of the sublease, the Giants will pay all rent and maintenance costs associated with Papago Sports Complex, Scottsdale Community Services Director Bill Murphy said.
The complex will undergo significant renovations paid for by the Giants as part of the deal, including expansion of the batting tunnel, clubhouse upgrades and renovations and the addition of more overflow parking.
The city is responsible for funding and constructing a new perimeter walking trail around the complex.
Murphy said the cost to build the trail is not yet known, but it will be a “pretty basic trail, similar to those on the (McDowell Sonoran) Preserve.”
The lease deal differs significantly from the one the city gave the club over a decade ago to keep the Giants in Scottsdale.
In 2005, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority Maricopa County Stadium District approved a $23.1 million renovation project for Scottsdale Stadium and Indian School Park to keep the team in the city.
Under the deal, Scottsdale contributed $3.1 million while the Tourism Authority kicked in $13.3 million and the stadium district contributed $6.7 million, according to a story in the Scottsdale Tribune.
Scottsdale ended up paying an additional $2.4 million due to construction cost overruns.
At the time, the deals drew the ire of some residents but were not overly controversial: Both measures – the initial $3.1 million in funding and the money to cover overruns – were approved unanimously by the City Council.
The upgrades featured four playing fields, a large clubhouse, and training room and workout facilities that drew praise from Giants minor league players who got to take advantage of the new facilities.
“This is, basically, big-league,” pitcher Wayne Foltin told the Scottsdale Tribune in 2007. “We’ve been over to Scottsdale Stadium, and this is almost better.”
In what seems like a déjà vu, a new generation of Giants minor leaguers will be acclimating themselves to upgraded facilities in 2021. Only this time, the city will not be paying for it.
Scottsdale still has other financial commitments to keep the Giants in town, though.
Scottsdale paid $244,524 to Populous Group in 2016 to create a masterplan for Scottsdale Stadium upgrades after the city, Scottsdale Charros and the San Francisco Giants agreed that the stadium needed renovations.
The city then set aside $5 million to begin the design process for upgrades earlier this year before awarding a design-build manager contract to Hunt Construction Group for $3,701,125 in July.
The city currently estimates renovations could cost between $40 million and $60 million. It is unclear how those renovations will be funded.
Earlier this year, Councilman David Smith proposed bringing a bond before voters that included $30 million to fund 50 percent of stadium upgrades, though the motions did not receive significant support from other members of the council.
The Giants' current lease with the city runs through 2025.