Astros' next spring home on target for 2017 debut

Owner shares update on construction of shared facility before board meeting

Astros' next spring home on target for 2017 debut

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Astros owner Jim Crane and about two dozen of his ownership partners joined club president of business operations Reid Ryan at Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Mets at Tradition Field, which is a short drive from Crane's Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, Fla.

On Tuesday night, Crane and his board of directors were scheduled to hold a quarterly meeting in which general manager Jeff Luhnow was slated to give an overview of the club. Astros manager A.J. Hinch and the coaching staff were spending the night at the Floridian as well.

Tuesday's ownership meeting didn't include only members of the voting board, but also some of the smaller partners, which included about 25 people. Crane said the meeting would cover financial and business matters, as well as baseball-related topics.

"It's baseball and business, and Jeff will answer questions and give everybody some insight," Crane said.

The Floridian figures to become a hub for Astros staff in a couple of years, when the team moves its Spring Training operation south to West Palm Beach. Crane said on Tuesday that he's confident the two-team facility, to be shared with the Nationals, will open in 2017, as expected. Groundbreaking could take place in late June or early July.

"That's the goal," Crane said. "We really want to get in there by [2017]. That's the target."

The Palm Beach Post reported Saturday that clearing the 160-acre piece of land, which for years was used as a landfill, could require as much as $10 million. Crane said final estimates aren't yet known, but he said that cleanup costs have been budgeted as part of the proposed $135 million complex.

"It's a pretty good story," Crane said. "You're turning a trash dump into a beautiful ballpark and a park for kids and soccer fields. I'm glad that the state, the county and the city all got together and figured out how to get it done. We've stayed on it."

As far as the Astros, Crane remains optimistic the club can finish with a winning record.

"I think we're optimistic that some of the young guys can get on fire," Crane said. "Some of them have had a pretty good spring. [Luis] Valbuena is hitting the ball. We've got some big plusses from where we last year, and the bullpen looks strong. We're looking to get up over .500 and hopefully contend for a playoff spot."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.