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Phillies buy 13 acres next to Clearwater stadium for $22.5M

City officials said the team is developing a $300 million expansion of its spring training complex.
A group tied to the Philadelphia Phillies has purchased this property at 21688 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater, directly south of BayCare Ballpark.
A group tied to the Philadelphia Phillies has purchased this property at 21688 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater, directly south of BayCare Ballpark. [ Avison Young ]
Published Nov. 15|Updated Nov. 15

The Philadelphia Phillies have picked up a potential puzzle piece in a planned redevelopment of their Clearwater spring training headquarters.

A group tied to the team has purchased a distressed 13-acre retail property immediately south of BayCare Ballpark for $22.5 million, according to Pinellas County records. The site at 21688 U.S. 19 N includes a Floor & Decor store, which has five years remaining on its lease, and a recently shuttered Buffalo Wild Wings.

The seller, a limited liability company based in Denver, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Colorado in April. At that time, the Phillies were already well into negotiations to buy the parcel, said John Timberlake, the Phillies’ director of Florida operations.

“It’s a large piece of property that is contiguous to the footprint of the ballpark and our complex, and really the last one that’s available,” Timberlake said. “And so when we saw what was going on with it, our ownership thought it would be a smart move to try to acquire it.”

Timberlake said there’s no immediate plan for the property beyond additional parking, which he believes will be needed next spring, with the Phillies having made this year’s World Series. Ultimately, he said, the buildings standing there now likely will be demolished.

In September, the team briefed city officials on its desire to build what Mayor Frank Hibbard described as a $300 million player development center near the city-owned ballpark and Carpenter Training Complex, which sits directly north. Details of the project have not been publicly outlined, nor has the cost the city and Pinellas County may be asked to pay. The team has disputed the $300 million price tag, saying the project is still in its early stages.

Related: Revamp of Philadelphia Phillies' Clearwater training complex could hit $300M

Timberlake said the team didn’t buy the property with the idea of situating the new complex there, although it could eventually host some elements, such as a hotel, dorm or apartments for visiting players.

“We’re in such a conceptual area still with that,” he said.

More likely, he said, the team will work with the city to develop the parcel for multiple uses, including some housing and retail.

“There’ll be some trading of ideas, eventually applied to a final development in that property,” he said. “It really is kind of a blank palette right now. But the goal, at least at this point, is not that it would all become part of the Phillies’ training complex.”

John Crotty, principal of Avison Young’s Florida Capital Markets Group, which facilitated the deal, said in a statement that the property received “multiple offers from retail investors and multifamily and mixed-use developers.

“Ultimately, the most fitting buyer was the user of the adjacent property that will hold the property throughout Floor & Decor’s lease while determining the best redevelopment avenue to pursue,” Crotty said.

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Said Timberlake: “It shows the Phillies’ commitment to a long-term presence in Clearwater.”

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