Report: Florida Group Backing Off Cubs Bid

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A Florida newspaper is reporting that the investors behind a bid to lure the Chicago Cubs away from their spring training home in Mesa have decided to step back.

The group reportedly wants to see how events unfold in Arizona.

“We will remain interested,” Esmark vice-chairman Craig Bouchard told the Naples (Fla.) Daily News, “but feel it’s time to remove our offer from the table and observe how things turn out for them in Arizona.”

An executive from another company involved in the Florida bid, Fifth Avenue Advisors, said he had asked the Cubs’ management to leave the door open to their proposal, which has yet to be put on the table because Mesa is still operating within an exclusive negotiating window with the Cubs. Mesa met a Monday deadline to have a funding mechanism in place to build a proposed $84 million spring training complex.

The Cubs are scouting a growing number of locations across Mesa for the facility, including along the light-rail line downtown. The proposed Waveyard water park site is also on the list of potential homes for the team.

“If there were property available, we’d like to see the stadium as close to light rail as possible,” City Manager Chris Brady told the Tribune last week. Mayor Scott Smith said several downtown scenarios are possible.