PRESS RELEASE – Ryan Sanders Baseball officials announced today that they have reached a tentative agreement with the City of Corpus Christi that would extend the current stadium lease an additional 15 years and keep the Corpus Christi Hooks Double-A professional baseball club in Corpus Christi through 2035.
The Hooks, whose primary ownership group includes Nolan Ryan, his sons Reid and Reese along with Don Sanders and his sons Brad and Bret, are the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The team began play at Whataburger Field in April of 2005.
“Whataburger Field has become a landmark in Corpus Christi for affordable family entertainment,” said Hooks CEO Reid Ryan. “This was a result of the desire of the citizens of Corpus Christi who ultimately voted to bring minor league baseball and a world-class venue to host it. The spirit of cooperation between the city, the port (of Corpus Christi) and everyone involved since day one has been without question.”
Preliminary discussions started last spring as the Hooks began their eighth season at their home near the Harbor Bridge and newly-developed SEA (Sports Entertainment Arts) District.
“We were roughly halfway through our initial (15-year) agreement with the city and we felt like this was a good time to address various current and future issues and also look into the possibility of extending the lease,” said Ryan Sanders EVP J.J. Gottsch. “From day one the city staff has been completely supportive in finding solutions that ultimately protect the city’s asset (Whataburger Field).”
In addition to the extension of the stadium lease, Ryan Sanders officials also worked with the Port of Corpus Christi to extend the Whataburger Field parking lot lease so that it would be coterminous with the stadium lease. Port Commissioners unanimously approved that lease extension last week at their August 14th meeting.
“Like the city, the port has been a great partner since day one and sees the value that the stadium brings to the area,” Gottsch said. “It’s great to see the development of things like Hurricane Alley Waterpark and Brewster Street Icehouse, businesses that would not have been here without the stadium.”
The basic tenets of the stadium lease agreement include the team making $1.82 million in escalating lease payments, a guarantee to spend a minimum of $3.85 million in capital improvement, repair and maintenance at the stadium and another $3.85 million with local hotels.
In return, the city would commit $750,000 one-time in “Type A” economic development funds and $175,000-a-year towards capital improvement, repair and maintenance at the stadium. The matter now goes to the economic development board and ultimately the city council for final approval