By Lew Gould
There’s a Dec. 31 deadline to complete a lease extension at Camden Yards, and the Orioles and Maryland Stadium Authority are racing to get the deal done.
The Orioles and the public authority that owns Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which opened in 1992, announced a 30-year lease agreement in September that would keep the MLB club at the venerable ballpark — a key move in what was a renaissance season for the franchise, which had a 101-win regular season. The Orioles lost in the Division Series to the Texas Rangers, who went on to win the World Series.
That lease extension included a 99-year development rights agreement allowing the Orioles to bring in private investment to certain public areas around Camden Yards. However, that pact was only a nonbinding memorandum of understanding, leaving critical details such as projected costs and exact uses of the development property unsettled.
As the deadline approaches, talks are now building around a potentially scaled-down lease extension that would bind the Orioles to Camden Yards for at least another 30 years but separate the issue of the development rights, according to the Baltimore Sun, to be picked back up after the lease extension is finalized.
In a sense, the move would bring the matter largely back to where it’s been for much of the past three-plus years, as development rights were one of the key sticking points in prior lease talks between the Orioles and MSA.
The Orioles have long felt that the lease extension and a larger development were fundamentally intertwined, while many Maryland politicians were looking to see a tangible commitment from the team and its chairman and CEO John Angelos, before the granting of additional rights.