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The Pelicans ballpark lease expired. See the deal that keeps the team in Myrtle Beach

Trent Giambrone runs toward first base in a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game in September 2017.
Trent Giambrone runs toward first base in a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game in September 2017.

A three-year extension of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ lease on Pelicans Ballpark has been approved by the Myrtle Beach City Council, keeping the minor league baseball team in town for the 2019-21 seasons.

City officials and Pelicans managing partner Chuck Greenberg presented the three-year extension to the city council for approval and it has passed a required second reading.

The initial 20-year lease between the Pelicans – the advanced single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs – the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County for use of the park on the corner of Grissom Parkway and 21st Ave. North expired at the end of the 2018 season on Sept. 3.

The parties intend to use the three years to create another long-term lease. An architectural firm is being hired to help develop a modernization plan for the stadium, and the parties will then decide what changes will be made and who will pay for them.

“We are pleased with the three-year extension and look forward to working collaboratively with the city to study potential ballpark improvements,” Greenberg said Wednesday. “We all want to assure that the ballpark is as prepared to serve our community and the Cubs as effectively during the next 20 years as it has during the past 20 years.”

The city owns 70 percent of the stadium and the county owns 30 percent, and they own the property that contains the stadium in the same percentage, according to Myrtle Beach city spokesperson Mark Kruea. Horry County spokesperson Kelly Moore said the county defers to Myrtle Beach’s agreement and no action is required by Horry County Council to extend the lease.

The city’s last debt payment on the stadium was in September, according to the lease extension submission to city council. Under the lease, the team pays the city and county rent equal to 4 percent of adjusted gross revenues in excess of $3.25 million, and Greenberg said there is a minimum base payment. In 2017, the team paid its landlords $61,525, according to the submission to city council.

The city and county earn additional revenue through other stadium event rentals, such as concerts and other baseball games, but the Pelicans are the primary tenant.

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