The 160-acre former landfill the Astros and Nationals will turn into a joint spring training home belonged to the City of West Palm Beach. As suggested by the fact that the site was most accurately referred to as “former landfill,” the city was not using it for much. Still, the West Palm Beach wanted something from the county in exchange for the land, so the county agreed to give the city 1.7 acres of downtown land to develop. According to the background provided to the City Commission, the land traded to the county for the spring training site was appraised to be worth about $2 million more than that traded to the city in exchange, though the land swap does not contain a monetary component. As part of the agreement, what is referred to in official documents as a “City Park” will be constructed adjacent to the spring training site: 12.2 acres including soccer fields, basketball courts, and a playground.
The Astros and Nationals have selected the contractor to oversee the project — HKS, a builder of several professional stadiums and other spring training complexes. Planners have produced initial plans for the facility, which will bring the Nationals within a half hour’s drive of the Marlins, Cardinals, Mets and Astros. In Viera, the Nationals are nearly an hour from the Astros and Braves, their two closest opponents. The Astros and Nationals hope to begin construction this fall and have the facility ready for use in spring training 2017.