Mesa will require the Chicago Cubs to open a restaurant at the team's new spring training complex by the first day of spring training.
The deadline is one of several the team and Mesa have agreed on as they get closer to finalizing details of a 50-year lease on a $99 million baseball and entertainment complex.
Mesa will require the team to add at least 10,000 square feet of shops, hotels or restaurants every 18 months as the city pushes to develop a 6-acre entertainment complex. This Wrigleyville West area will be the gateway to the stadium and entered through a path, which Mesa sometimes calls a paseo.
"We'll push for urban densities up in the paseo area," said Scot Rigby, an economic development specialist. "We're thinking anywhere between three and six stories, if the development demands that."
Mesa is looking for a restaurant like the Captain Morgan Club at the Wrigley Stadium in Chicago, Rigby said. Mayor Scott Smith likened the space to the TGIFriday's at Chase Field, where patrons in the restaurant can see into the stadium.
The team would pay a $250,000 penalty if the restaurant isn't open for year-round use on opening day, which could be in 2013 or 2014. The penalty buys the team another 18 months to develop commercial space. After that, the city would be able to sell the space to another developer.
Mesa will offer other land for sale only as the Cubs build more amenities, Smith said. The team will have to give up the land if it doesn't open developments within 24 months of starting a project.
"If the development doesn't happen, we still control the land," Smith said.
At a Thursday briefing with the Mesa City Council, Rigby said the agreement should be finished in a few days. Other details of the emerging agreement:
• Mesa will lease the stadium to the Cubs at $9 per square foot.
• The Cubs have options to purchase up to 6 acres at $9 a square foot, a value negotiated after the team and the city performed independent studies on fair market value.
• Some deadlines and terms for the entertainment district are still under discussion.
• The Cubs cannot buy land and keep it vacant more than 18 months. After that period, the city gets the land back and can seek other buyers.
• The Cubs have naming rights on the stadium and collect parking fees on 2,500 spaces.
• The team has exclusive use of the stadium, with the city having options of up to 10 events a year.
• Mesa will get a 30-person suite.
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