Pro baseball returning to Ottawa in 2014
Beacon Sports group looking for buyer for team who would agree to move team to Ottawa
Ottawa will get a professional baseball team in 2014, as well as renovations to Ottawa Stadium, mayor Jim Watson tweeted this morning.
The City of Ottawa has reached an agreement in principle with Beacon Sports Capital Partners for a lease and renovation plan for the Ottawa Stadium.
If the agreement is finalized, the new lease would take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. That means stadium renovations would take place in 2013, leaving the Ottawa Fat Cats without a place to play.
Renovations include a new scoreboard, upgraded locker rooms, less seating and more playground or picnic areas.
Beacon Sports has also told city officials they have reached an agreement in principle with the Eastern League to bring a AA level baseball franchise to the nation's capital. That is a minor league team just two steps below Major League Baseball.
Buyer still sought
The group still has to find an individual or group to buy the franchise and stadium, plus agree to move the team to Ottawa.
"The City of Ottawa has cleared an important hurdle on our way to bringing professional baseball back to Ottawa," Watson said in a release.
"If the plan moves forward, it will allow the city to preserve an important purpose-built city asset, the Ottawa Stadium, while providing an exciting family entertainment option for the residents of Ottawa."
The proposed lease and renovation plan should be put forward to the finance and economic development committee in October.
That plan includes a clause allowing the new stadium tenant to rent out the space for other events, including concerts and other shows in order to generate revenue.
Ottawa's previous bid for a AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays was quashed in May when the Blue Jays re-signed with its current affiliate, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.