The new owners of the Joliet Slammers will be paying a third of what the previous owners paid to lease Silver Cross Field for the next two years.
Under the terms of a proposed lease that will go to the Joliet City Council Monday, it's proposed that Joliet Community Baseball and Entertainment LLC pay $50,000 for use of the field in 2013 and 2014 and $75,000 for the three years that follow.
However, should the group of investors -- which includes Jim Haller, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers for seven years and pitching coach for the minor league Lincoln (Neb.) Salt Dogs -- fill more than 105,000 seats in any of the first three years, they will pay an additional head tax to the city.
That threshhold gets lower in the last two years, when the head tax kicks in at 95,000, the lease resolution said.
In the first three years, the city will receive an additional dollar for every person from 105,000 to 150,000, $1.50 for 115,001 to 125,000, $2.50 for 125,001 to 200,000 and $3 for 200,001 and up.
In 2016 and 2017, the amount will be $1 for every person between 95,000 and 100,500, $1.75 for 105,001 to 125,000, $2.50 for 125,001 and 150,000 and $3 for 150,001 and up.
City Manager Tom Thanas, in his memo to the council, said that the lease acknowledges that minor league baseball has been struggling since the 2008 economic recession, and therefore gives the owners time to rebuild the audience.
"So, the focus needs to be on working with the new team in trying to drive attendance and sponsorships and redeveloping the area around the baseball stadium," Thanas wrote.
"That endeavor is a group effort that needs strong leadership from the mayor and the city council working in conjunction with other key partners in making the ballpark be a cornerstone of the redevelopment effort in downtown Joliet."
Among the other proposed lease terms are:
- The city will receive 5 percent of the profits from any non-minor league baseball event held at Silver Cross Field;
- The naming rights payment from Silver Cross Hospital be split 60/40, with the city getting the larger share (the previous deal had been 50/50);
- The team have a contractual and supportive relationship with the University of St. Francis, the Illinois High School Association baseball tournament, the Miracle League, the City Center Partnership, the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and other "community partners";
- The city will improve the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at the ball park and work with the team on other capital improvements.
According to the resolution, the deal for current owner Alan Oremus to sell the team to the new group has been signed and is contingent on the city council approving the lease agreement. The team will remain known as the Joliet Slammers and will continue to be part of the Frontier League.
In addition to Haller, the purchasing group is made up of Joshua Schaub, a Minneapolis lawyer and law professor who works part time as a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers; Thomas Gump, a lawyer and founder of TAG Consulting, a real estate development firm in Minnesota; Nick Semaca, a private investor from Evanston; Jamie Nieland, a farmer and former owner of Sac City Drug in Iowa; and David Jensen, owner of Valley View Drugs Inc. in La Mirada, Calif.