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If the Milwaukee Brewers want to move their spring training facility to Gilbert, they’ll have to do it without taxpayer money, according to Mayor Jenn Daniels.

Public records obtained by The Arizona Republic show the Brewers asked Gilbert to build a $90 million spring training stadium for the team earlier this year.

But Daniels said in an interview Tuesday the town hasn’t talked to the Brewers about the proposition since June 13, when “there was a parting of the ways because this was not a great fit for Gilbert from a financial perspective.”

Daniels said the town did its “due diligence” during six months of discussions with the Brewers, even commissioning an economic impact study, which showed the cost of the stadium outweighed the economic benefits. 

According to Gilbert estimates, the town would have paid between $8 million to $10 million per year to build and operate the facility, and would have seen about $4 million in increased revenue.

“We’re not exploring this any further,” Daniels said. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean the Brewers won’t move to Gilbert. They just won’t be getting public dollars to build the ballpark.

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Daniels said the town hasn’t spoken with the Brewers in nearly two months, but the team and its development partner, LGE Design Build, both indicated last week that a Gilbert ballpark was still possible.

Following The Republic’s story about the Brewers exploring the East Valley suburb, the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce released its own economic impact study. The report states the Brewers would pay for a $75 million ballpark on their own and developer LGE Design Build would pay for an accompanying $70 million “village,” which would include hotels, office space and commercial opportunity.

The town would be asked to contribute $3.5 million annually for 20 years to offset operations costs, according to the study.

When asked to confirm that the Brewers were willing to pony up $75 million for a stadium, a team spokesman referred all questions to the chamber.  

Chamber President and CEO Kathy Tilque said it was her understanding that the team would pay for the stadium. That would be unusual, as Maricopa County taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions to build spring-training ballparks. 

The chamber’s economic development study — which was funded without town money or knowledge, according to Daniels — was broader and found much more positive results than the one commissioned by the town. 

The analysis found that the town’s potential $3.5 million annual contribution would be a “reasonable and justifiable cost,” as the stadium would:

  • Create more than 1,900 jobs during construction of the facility and village.
  • Construction would produce $267 million dollars in economic benefit.
  • Create nearly 2,500 jobs associated with operating the facility and village.
  • Produce $278 million in annual economic benefit to the community after operational. 

However, these estimates take into account indirect economic benefits. The actual increase in direct tax revenue from the stadium and village would be about $1.8 million during construction and $1.5 million per year after the facility is operational, according to the study. 

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Daniels said the Brewers have not brought this self-funded stadium proposal to town officials.

If they do, Daniels said the town will ask the Brewers to show that any investment made by the town would be repaid in a direct revenue increase. The team could not show that during previous discussions, she said.

“No one has ever provided that,” Daniels said.


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