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Site selected for new Sox spring training complex

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  April 29, 2009 05:36 PM

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Waterman-Pinnacle land

CLEVELAND - The Fort Myers News-Press has reported in the last hour that the Waterman-Pinnacle land has been selected as the new home for the $80 million Red Sox spring training facility.

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners have convened and made the choice. Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee was on hand for the decision. The site is located on Daniels Parkway near Southwest Florida International Airport.

The Naples Daily News also posted the following updates on their website late this afternoon:

HOK Sport and Parker, Mudgett, Smith Architects will design the new spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and Kraft Construction will build it.

HOK, with help from the Fort Myers firm that's also done work at City of Palms Park and Hammond Stadium, will get slightly under $5 million to design the stadium.

Kraft Construction of Naples will oversee construction. The fee will be 4.5 percent of the total construction cost, estimated at from $50 million to $70 million.

The county also agreed to a financing scheme that will see commissioners "borrow" stadium funds from county reserves. That loan will be at 1.5 percent for a year. The county will have a workshop in the meantime to determine the feasibility of entering the bond market.

The plan is to repay the loan from tourist taxes. Commissioners have agreed to dedicate 20 percent of the tax revenue to baseball, a total of about $4.4 million this year.

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Red Sox CEO Mike Dee said he knew the Waterman site was out there when the site location criteria were selected.

"We don't view this as a closed book," Dee said.

Dee said he expected he'll be involved in the negotiations with Waterman, which will begin right away. The deal faces a June 1 deadline to have the site nailed down, and the Sox want to play in the new stadium in 2012.

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Dee thanked Lee County for working so hard and leaving no stone unturned in looking for the right site for the team's new spring training home.

Dee called the new 30-year deal struck before Christmas a truly comprehensive deal, one that six months later remains on-point.

Dee reminded commissioners of the site selection criteria included in that agreement, which he said remain spot-on. He read the criteria in fact from the agreement.

Dee said the layout of the stadium and other uses - all submittals included a proposed layout - needs more work. He said the team stresses the importance of what happens around the stadium.

"There's a saying you can't have a great ballpark without a great neighborhood," he said. "Fenway is a great place. The neighborhood around Fenway is also great."

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