Autozone Park Deal Calls For City To Pay For Improvements

(Memphis) Some are calling “foul ball” on the deal that has the city of Memphis buying Autozone Park.

On top of the $19 million dollar price tag for the downtown stadium, the city’s also picking up $4.5 million for improvements.

This deal cost the city around $25 million. The city council approved it but not unanimously.

One strike was the improvements the Cardinals wanted.

Some city council members say since the Cardinals wanted them, the team should pay for them.

To help seal the $25 million deal, the Cardinals sent their general manager to Autozone Park.

“We want people to show up but more importantly we want the experience right here to be one that you remember and want to revisit time and time again,” said John Mozeliak, General Manager, St. Louis Cardinals.

It appears enhancing the experience means a $4.5 million investment in renovations by the city.

On Facebook, WREG found a few sketches and a statement.

This statement said, “Our concept is to create a more inviting lower bowl, a more vibrant club level atmosphere, and add other new opportunities throughout the ballpark.”

There are no specifics about those opportunities and changes even council members we talked to don’t know.

“The only thing they said was they were going to put some kind of suites in there. We already have suites but they’re going to take away those suites and put in some other kind of suites which I have absolutely no knowledge of what that is,” said Janis Fullilove, Memphis City Council.

Fullilove and three other council members voted against the city buying the park saying it’s not a necessity.

She doesn’t think the city should pay for upgrades.

“They’re going to profit more so than the city of Memphis. Let them make those improvements,” said Fullilove.

Fullilove is also upset over how she says she and her constituents were treated in the deal.

“I felt very pissed off. I’ll put it like that,” she said.

When the Cardinals came to town they met with other council members, not Fullilove, she says that’s a slap in the face of those she represents.

“You don’t have to like me but at least show the respect for the office that I hold because I represent my constituency and I answer to them and I wanted to give them answers,” said Fullilove.

The park improvements won’t happen by the start of baseball season, sometime after September.

The deal is set up so the city won’t have to contribute any cash.

The park will be purchased using bonds and repaid through the yearly rent charged to the Cardinals.

State rebates on sales tax collected at the park will also go to pay for Autozone park but here’s the catch: if the taxes fall short, the city will have to come up with some money.

7 comments

  • Michael

    Janice Fullilove demanding respect? Pull out the MLGW smart meter discussion and watch her actions. Respect? Yeah right. Nice try News3 getting her on camera. You never know what great video you might get.

  • Eddie Heath

    Another white elephant for memphis, but AC will be relected because the fat cat will give him money, but its time to remove the entire city counsel, except Fullilove, collins, and the ones that voted against this deal that will cost over 30 million dollars with the interest. Thanks counsel. Can you say Detroit

  • The fleecing of the working man.

    Who needs more police and firemen….we are getting a stadium that has lost money for seven years. Remember which council members approved this outflow of dollars when your property taxes go up next year. Little Detroit is rolling along, as the working/taxpayers move out to of the city.

  • James williams

    I live in colorado,but I was raised in Memphis.denver is the same size in population as Memphis.denver has four major sports teams.memphis one.memphis needs to stop crying so much and get with the big time.some big wigs some wear is getting rich in Memphis,I wonder who.just saying.

  • Kevin Lewis

    I still don’t think the City Council had enough information on this deal to vote yes…We won’t see how this pans out because when they need the extra money to pay the 25 million in bonds off…it will come from our tax dollars…The rent is not enough to pay this stadium off but 1/3 of the bonds…and if the team begins to stink…no one will go to the games…then what…blame us because we don’t want to throw away our money like the City Council does.

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