Deal for city to buy AutoZone Park is closer to reality than eve - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Deal for city to buy AutoZone Park is closer to reality than ever

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The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation says it reached a strategic agreement that would rescue the financially troubled Memphis Redbirds and AutoZone Park. The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation says it reached a strategic agreement that would rescue the financially troubled Memphis Redbirds and AutoZone Park.
The St. Louis Cardinals would buy the Redbirds, while the City of Memphis would buy AutoZone Park. The St. Louis Cardinals would buy the Redbirds, while the City of Memphis would buy AutoZone Park.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The City of Memphis could be ringing in the new year with the purchase of a ballpark downtown.

A deal to buy AutoZone Park is closer to a reality than ever.

The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation says it reached a strategic agreement that would rescue the financially troubled Memphis Redbirds and AutoZone Park.

The St. Louis Cardinals would buy the Redbirds, while the City of Memphis would buy AutoZone Park.

But the big question remains: How much will it cost?

If the city buys AutoZone Park, it would lease the ballpark to the Redbirds.

In a news release Friday, the Memphis Redbirds Foundation does not name a price for the park.

"That has not been presented to me. It certainly has not," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. will recommend the Memphis City Council approve the transaction during its December 3 meeting.

"And I tell you what, before I sign off on it, the council will know and the citizens will know too, ahead of time. I can assure you that," said Wharton.

Before that happens, an invitation-only rally will take place at the park next Tuesday at the exact same time city council members are scheduled to meet at city hall.

Were they intentionally snubbed?

"Let me make one thing crystal clear, not one official in Memphis city government had anything to do with picking that date," said Wharton.

The electronic invite lists Wharton and some of the key players that helped broker building the downtown Triple-A park among those in attendance.

Wharton is wondering how he will be at two places at once.

"I will do what I can do because I need to be in that council meeting also," he said.

With city council approval, the deal is scheduled to close on New Year's Eve.

The Memphis Redbirds Foundation also said there will be a capital investment in AutoZone Park to add features that will significantly improve the overall fan experience.

We expect those details to be announced at the upcoming rally.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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