Thursday December 7, 2023

O’s New Lease Deal Continues Stadium-Centered Development Trend

  • MLB club gains 99-year development rights agreement for ballpark area
  • Pact not yet in final, certified form
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Stadium Authority plan to create a large-scale, mixed-use development around Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the heels of a new 30-year lease agreement keeping the MLB club at the venerable ballpark.

Hours after the new deal was announced and the Orioles clinched the American League East Division and AL’s top seed, details of the agreement began to emerge. The pact is highlighted by a 99-year development rights agreement that allows the Orioles to bring in private investment to certain public areas around Camden Yards.

The Orioles will pay $94 million in rent over the full-term of that redevelopment agreement and lead efforts to bring in partners to remake areas around the ballpark including Camden Station and the B&O Warehouse. 

Details of the planned complex — including projected costs and exact uses of the property — remain undetermined. But the effort seeks to bring the Camden Yards area much more in alignment with the growing number of other sports-centered urban developments around the country. To that end, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Orioles chair and CEO John Angelos traveled to Atlanta in March to visit Truist Park and The Battery — the $1.1 billion project that is now an industry model. 

Other cities pursuing similar efforts include Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

But prior to completing the deal for Baltimore, the Orioles and state officials had been divided on how and when to pursue such a development.

“This will make Camden Yards best-in-class while driving new economic growth through some of the untapped potential surrounding the stadium,” said Craig Thompson, MSA chair.

Still Work To Do

The lease deal is still in the form of a signed — but not legally binding — memorandum of understanding, with plans in place to draft and certify a final, long-form agreement by the end of the year, when the current lease ends. Once that happens, the deal will open up $600 million in public bond funds to the Orioles for stadium upgrades.

In addition to the 30-year lease term, the Orioles have two additional five-year options to extend the agreement. The deal also notably transfers responsibility for operations and maintenance for Camden Yards from the MSA to the Orioles.

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