PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays want to move their spring training to Palm Beach Gardens but a deal with the city is nowhere near being finalized.
That might come as a surprise to some after Houston owner, Jim Crane, who also owns the Floridian Golf Club in nearby Palm City, told the Houston Chronicle that his team was close to finalizing a deal to move its spring home from Kissimmee to Palm Beach Gardens.
"We're down to the final approval with the city," Crane told the Houston Chronicle.
Palm Beach Gardens spokesperson Tom McNicholas tells ESPN 106.3's Emerson Lotzia there's a long way to go before an agreement is reached with both the Astros and Blue Jays.
"We're currently working with Palm Beach County to see if this project is financially feasible for our community," said McNicholas.
"Our focus is making a deal in Palm Beach Gardens. We are not looking anywhere else," Giles Kibbe, lawyer for the Astros, told the Palm Beach Post.
A potential two-team spring training complex would be built just three miles south of Roger Dean Stadium off Central Boulevard, north of PGA boulevard. It would cost an estimated $100 million to build. The state would likely pay half of that with the city and county responsible for coming up with the rest of the money.
Neither the city nor county would comment on the financial side of the budding deal.
Houston has trained at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee since 1985. The team's lease expires in 2016.
"We are thrilled to hear that Jim Crane has fully committed to move the Houston Astros' spring training facility to the City of Palm Beach Gardens," said McNicholas.
Toronto has called Dunedin its spring training home since the team was founded in 1977. The city's mayor, Dave Eggers, tells the Tampa Bay Times that the Blue Jays will pursue an opportunity to share a two-team complex with the Astros before possibly signing a contract renewal with Dunedin.
Jays president Paul Beeston promised Eggars the Blue Jays will finish the last four years of their current lease at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
As exciting as this potential deal is for area baseball fans, if it doesn't pan out, we might see professional baseball eventually disappear completely from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
The Washington Nationals are likely moving out of their current spring home in Viera after the 2015 season. If that happens the Cardinals and Marlins can opt out of their contract with Roger Dean Stadium because there will be less than three opponents to play along Florida's Atlantic coast.
Miami and St. Louis are currently under contract at RDS through 2027.
The Baltimore Orioles were the last team to leave Florida's east coast when the team went from Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota after the 2009 season. The previous year the L.A. Dodgers left Vero Beach for Glendale, Arizona.
If the Blue Jays and Astros end up striking a deal with the city and county, they will most likely not begin play in their new spring home until the 2017 season. The new duo would help pump an additional $50 million into the local economy.
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