Astros still negotiating for proposed spring facility

Club to learn on Oct. 21 whether shared complex with Nats can be ready for 2017

Astros still negotiating for proposed spring facility

ARLINGTON -- The Astros will learn on Oct. 21, whether their proposed two-team Spring Training facility to be shared with the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach, Fla., will be reality when they go back before the county commissioners, who on Tuesday rejected a financing request but vowed to keep negotiating with the teams.

The Palm Beach County commissioners agreed on Tuesday to commit $90 million in bed tax money to help finance a new stadium, which is short of the $145 million the clubs had requested. The clubs have proposed a 3.1 percent annual escalator to the $3 million bed tax payments over 30 years in order to complete the financing package for construction of the complex.

"What they said today was 'The $3 million a year is fine, but what we're struggling with is increasing it by 3.1 percent every year,'" said Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe. "What they instructed us to do was go back and start working with the county and try to figure out a way to get that lower than 3.1 percent. They didn't tell us a number we needed to get to.

"They recognize we're going to need an increase every year; they're struggling on the 3.1-percent increase. They sent us back to the negotiating table with the county staff to try to figure out a number to make this work."

The Astros, whose lease at Osceola County Stadium expires after the 2016 spring season, are up against a clock if they want to have a new facility built by 2017. They would have to begin construction around January.

"Extending it past [Oct. 21] will be difficult if we're going to get in the new facility in January of 2017," Kibbe said. "Oct. 21 does not create a problem."

The Astros have been so focused on the 160-acre site south of 45th Street between Haverhill Road and Military Trail, they haven't considered contingency plans.

"There's a lot of questions of whether or not this is going to happen now," Kibbe said. "We'll have to evaluate that."

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.