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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Orioles’ Lease Talks Expose Rift Over Camden Yards Renovations

  • Team owner, local officials have very different views on proposed renovation
  • Lease expiration draws closer amid resurgent season for the team
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles’ seemingly never-ending talks for a Camden Yards lease extension have revealed a problematic new wrinkle. 

The team’s managing partner John Angelos and the Maryland Stadium Authority are still far apart on not only the lease deal but potential renovations to the ballpark area.

Maryland public officials have long been frustrated over the lack of progress toward replacing the current deal expiring in December, with state senate president Bill Ferguson saying last week that he wished the Orioles agreement had been completed “yesterday.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Angelos revealed a deeper schism. Not only does he have a vision for an Atlanta Braves-type mixed-use development with residential units, hotels, shops, and restaurants, but he also envisions an elementary school in the B&O Warehouse next to the ballpark, as well as a health and wellness clinic.

“If we develop it right, and we include the impactful community program model, we change the whole brand of Baltimore,” Angelos said.

A lease deal would open up $600 million in public funds toward ballpark-specific renovations, similar to provisions available to the neighboring Baltimore Ravens. But local leaders are reluctant to discuss any bigger project aspirations — or funding them — without a long-term commitment from the team.

“I think it’s premature to talk about investments around the facility when we don’t have a partner that is committing to be there for the next 20-to-30 years,” Ferguson said.  

The Orioles remain the surprise story of the 2023 MLB season, holding the best record in the American League after a long rebuilding period.

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