ATLANTA -- The Braves could be on the verge of making firm plans to relocate their Spring Training site to Florida's Sarasota County in 2019.The Braves revealed they have entered exclusive negotiations with Sarasota County and its West Village partners regarding the construction of a Spring Training complex within the
ATLANTA -- The Braves could be on the verge of making firm plans to relocate their Spring Training site to Florida's Sarasota County in 2019.
The Braves revealed they have entered exclusive negotiations with Sarasota County and its West Village partners regarding the construction of a Spring Training complex within the city of North Port. A decision could be made as soon as Jan. 24, when the county's commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed deal.
"We're quite enthused and very optimistic about the way things have progressed in our talks with Sarasota County officials and our development partners," Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz said. "We felt so good, we declared we would be exclusively negotiating with this group with hopes of ironing out the deal."
• Spring Training information
The Braves initially planned to relocate their Spring Training site next year from ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, where they have trained dating back to 1998.
With the Astros and Nationals relocating their Spring Training sites to Palm Beach County this year, the Tigers now stand as the only club located within an hour of the Braves' current location.
Along with providing modernized facilities, the North Port site also would allow the Braves to be within respectable proximity to other teams that train along Florida's west coast.
"It's a beautiful area with good weather," Schuerholz said. "There's baseball aplenty around for Spring Training opponents. We're hopeful we can get this done. Only time will tell. This is sort of a slow and elongated process. But there is high optimism in our organization right now about this possibility."
The West Village's land development partners, including Mattamy Homes, view the stadium as a potential anchor for a future entertainment district within the development.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the entire region," said Sarasota County Commission chairman Paul Caragiulo. "The potential economic impact for our community could be tremendous. We are looking forward to hearing more details about the negotiations next week."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.