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Purchase of Chase Field canceled after potential buyer backs out

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County approved the initial stages for the sale of Chase Field in late August, but learned Monday that the potential buyer is no longer interested in purchasing the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Maricopa County board had voted unanimously to approve a letter of intent from an investment company, but the board received an official notice of immediate termination of the ongoing transaction.

“As you are aware, despite numerous requests over the past 3 months, the Diamondbacks have refused to meet with us, absent my client’s compliance with a number of unreasonable and rather dubious preconditions,” the letter from the law office representing Stadium Real Estate Partners II said.

“More specifically, when an investor is under contract to purchase rental property and reaches out to the potential tenant to discuss future improvements to the property, lease rates, and other related matters, the tenant typically doesn’t refuse to meet with its prospective landlord, despite multiple requests, without first seeing evidence of its financial condition, funding sources, corporate structure, business plan, and other proprietary information.”

The representative of the potential buyer added that they believed the cost of repairs of Chase Field would be closer to $80 million, instead of the $187 million that the county projected in their 2013 Facility Assessment Study over the remaining 12 years in their Facility Use Agreement.

“However, the matter of how much money the Buyer is prepared to invest in the Stadium, or, in the alternative, undertake the construction of a new state-of-the-art stadium, has been rendered moot because of the lack of cooperation and courtesies by the Diamondbacks.”

Stadium Real Estate Partners II had said before they wanted to keep the baseball team in Phoenix and, consequentially, continue to help the local Phoenix economy.

The Diamondbacks responded to the letter, and refuted much of what was said.

“We have been informed of the prospective buyer’s decision and are deeply offended that Mr. Greenberg would suggest we have been uncooperative when we have merely asked for answers to the same questions the buyer agreed to provide to the County,” the Diamondbacks said in a statement. “In fact, in the agreement between the two parties, it was agreed upon that, ‘Upon written request the Buyer shall provide proof of financial capability.’ For any sophisticated business arrangement, and as a partner in the stadium, this basic information is more than reasonable.

“We have always been willing to meet and would do so enthusiastically if a basic legitimacy of the buyers were to first be established.”

The Diamondbacks and Maricopa County had squared off in recent months over the condition of the team’s home.

In March, it was reported that the D-backs were considering ending their lease at Chase Field so they could find a newer, more updated ballpark.

According to the team, the Stadium District (which oversees the ballpark) had not met its obligations to fund improvements, and will not be able to pay for $187 million worth of repairs the team said needed to be done.

The county fired back at the assertion that it has not lived up to its side of the lease agreement.

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