Baseball land swap closes; construction about to start

As of about noon today, Palm Beach County took ownership of a former city landfill that in 2017 will be home to a new spring training complex.

The closing on a land swap between the county and West Palm Beach marked the final step before construction starts on the 160-acre site south of 45th Street.

Heavy equipment sits just west of Military Trail on a 160-acre site where the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals plan to build a new spring training complex. Work will start today or tomorrow.

Heavy equipment sits just west of Military Trail on a 160-acre site where the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals plan to build a new spring training complex. Work will start today or tomorrow.

Land clearing is expected to start Wednesday, although there was a chance work could start later today.

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are under a tight schedule –14 months — to build a spring training stadium and practice fields in time to open by January 2017.

As of noon today, a bulldozer and a backhoe sat idle on the east side of the site on Military Trail, just north of Shiloh Drive. More equipment will arrive this afternoon and Wednesday.

Team officials and local government leaders will hold an invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony on the site Monday at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony is not open to the public.

In exchange for giving the county the 160-acre baseball site, the city took ownership of 1.8 acres of previously-owned county land between Fern and Evernia streets east of Tamarind Avenue downtown.

A pickup truck today just east of Haverhill Road at what will be the main entrance to the new spring training stadium

A pickup truck today just east of Haverhill Road at what will be the main entrance to the new spring training stadium

Mayor Jeri Muoio has said the city will consider selling the land to a developer.

The land-swap deal also includes a 12-acre city park to be built by the teams on the southwest corner of the baseball complex.

The teams will lease the land from the county and make annual payments averaging $2.4 million for the next 30 years. Those payments will go toward debt service for the construction bonds.

The project will cost at least $144 million, with the county and state chipping in about half.

 

 

 

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