The Atlanta Braves, who have flirted with Palm Beach County about a new spring training home, are now negotiating with Sarasota County.
“Sarasota County Commissioners authorized the county administrator on Tuesday to continue negotiating terms with the West Villages and the Atlanta Braves for the funding, design and construction of a state-of-the-art spring training destination in the new master-planned community,” the county announced today.
The proposal — in the city of North Port, south of Sarasota — calls for training facilities, practice fields and a 7,500-seat stadium on a 100-150 acre site. The team wants to move there in 2018.
Braves President John Schuerholz said the organization is “excited and appreciative that West Villages and Sarasota County are working with us to potentially secure a beautiful, state-of-the-art, future spring training location for the Braves.”
Palm Beach County officials have said they are open to the Braves returning to the areas. The Braves trained in West Palm Beach from 1962-1997 before moving to Orlando.
But local officials doubted there would be public money and land available. The county last year approved $113 million in tourist tax revenue for a new complex, under construction now in West Palm Beach, for the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
The Braves are looking for a new home because they will face long bus trips for Grapefruit League games since the Astros (Kissimmee) and Nationals (Viera) will move to West Palm in January.