The report was in the Arizona Republic yesterday, which said,, "An out-of-state investor group is proposing to build a new, privately funded baseball stadium in downtown Phoenix to replace the current home of the Arizona Diamondbacks." There's a broken link in the story to the group's statement, from Nick Wood, the attorney representing the investors, Stadium Real Estate Partners II LLC, but the most relevant chunk is as follows:
For decades the Arizona taxpayer has funded billions of dollars for the construction and renovation of stadiums and arenas. Today, my client, together with real estate developer Egbert Perry, Chairman of Fannie Mae and President of Integral Group LLC, has stepped-up to relieve the taxpayer of that extraordinary expense and seeks to not only purchase Chase Field, but to also construct a brand new, state-of-the-art, downtown baseball stadium for the Diamondbacks using all private money.
Quite how this is to be accomplished is not clear, either in the rest of the statement - which is spent more complaining about preconditions demanded by the Diamondbacks before meeting - or in the Republic story. While I'm entirely in favor of privately-funded professional sports facilities, these are few and far between. As far as I know, AT&T Park in San Francisco is the only such recently built in the majors, and that was in a far more prosperous time and location. [Though on the other hand, land prices here in Phoenix would be significantly cheaper] True, the team's facilities at Salt River Fields were privately financed, but that cost was only about $100 million.
This is a fraction of the amount it took to build Chase Field - that was $354 million, even at the time, which works out to more than one-half billion dollars in 2016 terms. So it would require an almost unprecedented financing arrangement to pull this together. Some of this tastes strongly like pie in the sky: according to the team's rep, "we asked the most basic questions, and there has been a declination in providing that. No letter, no phone call, no email... very embryonic things you would do in any kind of deal," such as identities of the investors, a business plan, sources of funding and past projects.
Until that information is available, skepticism is probably sensible, because right now, not even the proposed location of the replacement is known. Would it be on the same land as Chase Field? The statement does use the word "downtown", which would seem explicitly to rule out alternative locations which have been suggested, such as the Loop 101/202 intersection in Tempe. Wood, according to the Republic, represents the Coyotes too, who are also in the market for a new facility. He says the deals are not linked, but a combined venture could seem to make more sense, perhaps in the same way the Coyotes and Cardinals stadia were neighbors in Glendale.
For now, I'm inclined to file this under speculative. If more information comes out to show this is a solid possibility, then it will become something to consider. At this point, however, there is not enough information on which to make any kind of even partially-informed decision.