The Portland Diamond Project today announced it has an "agreement in principle" to pursue the purchase of Terminal Two, a little-used Port of Portland dock on the Willamette River.
"We have an agreement in principle with the Port that would make us the master developer of the acreage, secured by a long term land lease," John McIsaac, a spokesman for the Diamond Project said in an email.
The Diamond Project also released a number of artist renderings of a baseball stadium at the site, setting off ripples of online enthusiasm and skepticism.
McIsaac and the Port declined to share any terms of the agreement.
So what does an "agreement in principle" actually mean? Not necessarily a whole lot.
WW first reported in May that the Port and the group seeking to bring a Major League Baseball franchise to Portland had entered into a non-disclosure agreement surrounding negotiations around Terminal Two, which is located at 3556 NW Front Ave.
Since then, the Diamond Project saw one of the two parcels it identified as top choices—the ESCO Corp., headquarters in Northwest Portland—purchased by an investor group, and allowed its bid for the Portland Public Schools headquarters to lapse.
In a statement, the Port made it clear that the deal with the Diamond Project is preliminary.
"This agreement in principle gives the Port of Portland and the Portland Diamond Project a framework for determining whether or not this is a viable location to make the case for baseball in Portland and space to negotiate terms of a potential deal," Port spokeswoman Melanie Mesaros said in a statement.
"After the Portland Diamond Project has had a chance to refine the details of their vision for the project with input from community stakeholders, and assuming there is a path forward, the parties will work to negotiate and finalize deal terms and present those to the Port Commission for consideration."
Nonetheless, Port Executive Director Curtis Robinhold expressed optimism about the prospect of a deal.
"We're excited about the idea of baseball at Terminal 2 and a unique development on the river, close to downtown Portland," Robinhold said in a statement. "This creates a new opportunity at Terminal 2, which is no longer well positioned to compete in the region for what it has traditionally been used for—moving oversized international cargo."
McIsaac, the Diamond Project spokesman, says more information about the agreement will be forthcoming in due time. "There's much we can't disclose at this point," he says.
The timing of the announcement comes shortly before all Major League Baseball owners and management convene in Las Vegas for annual meetings Dec. 9.
Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted enthusiastically about today's news: