Columbia City Council to begin talks on public stadium

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On Jan. 21, Columbia City Council voted to open formal negotiations with a minor-league baseball team owner to build a public stadium in the proposed Bull Street neighborhood and asked for draft contracts in two weeks, reports TheState.

City manager Teresa Wilson was requested by council to update members about negotiations with Atlanta-based Hardball Capital at council’s Feb. 4 meeting. Mayor Steve Benjamin asked that she come back with proposed management and lease agreements.

Council still would have to vote to approve any deal with Hardball Capital and its chief executive Jason Freier.

The controversial city-owned ballpark project carries a price tag of $35 million to $42 million based on projections from Freier, who is seeking to move a team here, and from a consulting firm hired by the city, respectively.

The city’s chief financial officer (CFO) disclosed a range of sources the city could use to pay for a $35 million year-round, multi-use ballpark and the city’s estimated $55 million commitment to install water and sewer systems, two parking garages and other public services to help jumpstart construction on the 165-acre property in the heart of Columbia.

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