If Angels Relocate To Long Beach, New Waterfront Ballpark Will Be Catalyst For Downtown Area
If the Anaheim Angels decide to relocate to Long Beach, the move would serve as a major catalyst to the multibillion-dollar investments and developments already happening along the city’s waterfront and downtown area.
“[The Angels in Long Beach] would be like strapping a rocket on an airplane already elevating,” said Adam Carrillo, Long Beach Commercial Real Estate Council president and Agency ETA executive vice president of strategy. Agency ETA is a branding agency that represents several commercial real estate companies.
“The new proposed stadium and site will be a catalyst that would connect the waterfront and further expand what’s happening in downtown,” he said.
The city’s flirtation with the Angels has put a spotlight on commercial real estate development in Long Beach and could be a boon for projects along the waterfront and downtown area.
Long Beach development has been booming the past several years with a pro-business mayor who has dreams of building out a world-class waterfront with the approach of the 2028 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Currently, more than $5B in investment has been made in the city, according to city officials. There are 73 projects either under construction or in the pipeline, and 23 of those are in the city's downtown, according to city documents.
"This place is rocking," Long Beach Deputy Director of Economic Development Sergio Ramirez told a Bisnow reporter from his high-rise office in downtown.
Several construction cranes and skeleton frames of buildings under construction could be seen outside the window as workers in orange and neon vests milled about.
Long Beach has been flirting with the Angels for at least the past five years when Angels owner Arte Moreno began looking at potential stadium sites outside of Anaheim, according to news reports citing city records.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia openly discussed the courtship earlier this year a few months after the Angels opted out of their stadium lease agreement with the city of Anaheim.
Garcia will be speaking at Bisnow's Long Beach Boom! event July 23 at the Westin Long Beach.
Garcia and Long Beach officials are eyeing a possible new baseball stadium development on a 13-acre parcel often referred to as the elephant lot next to the city's convention center. The elephant lot name came from the days when the Ringling Bros.' circus would come to town and hold events there.
The vacant city-owned site is currently used as a parking lot.
The city has estimated a new ballpark on that site could cost more than $1B, according to several reports. To avoid a vote from its residents that could prolong any potential development on the site, the city could build the stadium using revenue bonds, creating new financing districts and public-private partnerships, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram.
"You can look at [the elephant lot] any time of the day and it’s empty," Carrillo said. "It could become a stadium, a hotel, resort, so many more amenities. More importantly, [whatever is built on that site] could be a catalyst to connect the waterfront with downtown."
An email to a Long Beach city official asking about the current negotiations with the Angels was not answered as of press time. Ramirez, Long Beach's economic development director, could not comment on the current negotiations with the Angels.
Ramirez said the elephant lot is the biggest development opportunity in all of California. He added that there is a Metro blue line stop right across the street from the site. Other amenities for visitors include the ocean and downtown — all within a short walking distance.
"The moment you drop in a stadium, you almost create this Petco Park feel," Ramirez said referring to the San Diego Padres' baseball stadium in the heart of downtown San Diego.
Petco Park is ranked as one of the best stadiums to visit because of the number of bars, restaurants and hotels around the ballpark. It is also a couple of blocks away from the ocean.
The Angels are currently negotiating with the city of Anaheim for a long-term deal to remain at Angel Stadium. The team has hired a real estate consulting company to explore development options around Angel Stadium. At a Bisnow event last month, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said he was confident that the Angels will remain in Anaheim.
Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said the city is finalizing the appraisal of land around the 150-acre stadium, and that the Angels have assembled a team to look at development opportunities as part of any potential new agreement.
"In coming weeks, we are looking forward to next steps with a goal of progress by the end of the year," Lyster wrote in an email to Bisnow. "We’re confident in the opportunity and path forward we have in Anaheim. There’s no better stadium location in Southern California."
Carrillo said Anaheim is great but a new baseball stadium along the waterfront in Long Beach could be a better option for the Angels.
"The Angels will have a waterfront stadium in the second-largest media market in the nation," Carrillo said. "That's something only Long Beach can deliver.
"If the Angels really want to expand their presence in the LA and Orange County market, there’s no greater place than Long Beach."
UPDATE, MAY 8, 3:20 P.M. PT: This story was updated to include a statement from the city of Anaheim.