The City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Goldeyes appear to be striking out over a new lease agreement for Shaw Park.
For years, the two sides have been trying to come to terms on a new deal for the stadium — which sits on city-owned land — before the current 25-year lease expires in July 2023.
Riverside Park Management Inc., the non-profit that manages the park’s property matters, says it wants to reach a deal early to obtain financing to pay for planned capital improvements.
But a new report prepared for council’s property and development committee shows those talks have so far been a swing and a miss for both sides.
Under the original deal, Riverside has been paying $1 a year to lease the park from the city, and, according to the report, also gets annual tax subsidies to the tune of $342,000.
In a proposed new lease outlined for councillors in the administrative report, the city wants the team to pay $150,000 a year in rent, an amount recommended by a city consultant in 2016.
Riverside has said it doesn’t think that’s a fair deal, according to the report.
The report says the non-profit has also said no to a city proposal that would see Riverside start paying all municipal taxes — and give up the subsidies — as part of the new lease agreement.
Property and development chair, Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) says a major sticking point between the two sides is who will control a pair of parking lots near the stadium site.
Currently, the lots are run by the Goldeyes, bringing in $375,000 a year for the team, according to the report.
“I’m sure some people would say we shouldn’t be subsidizing any of this,” Mayes told 680 CJOB Tuesday after the report was made public.
“(Others) would say, well look, they’re a great benefit to downtown, they provide jobs, they bring 200,000 (people) a year into the downtown.
“The Bombers and the Jets have certainly had some benefits from City Hall, so I think that’s trying to strike the balance.”
The report, which will be presented to the property and development committee at their Oct. 28 meeting, says the city has lost nearly $7.5 million in taxes and $5.2 million in parking revenue over the life of the lease.
Goldeyes owner and former Winnipeg mayor, Sam Katz, told 680 CJOB he’s going to wait until the committee meets to speak about the lease negotiations.
While Mayes called the current $1-a-year lease “clearly a problem”, he said he is confident the two sides have enough time to eventually come to an agreement.
“He needs a ballpark and we need a team for our ballpark,” said Mayes.
“So we should be able to hammer out some sort of a deal.”