Some time ago you could read here that the MLB complex that was planned on the Isle of Curaçao wasn’t going to be built. But now a local newspaper, het Antilliaans Dagblad, comes with a completely different story.
Back in 2015, the minister of Economic Affairs, Stanley Palm was euphoric about the project. Now, his successor, Steven Martina, wants to do everything to continue with the plan of a baseball academy for at least four MLB clubs.
According to Mike Powers of International Baseball Partners, who spoke with Martina and real estate developer John Daryanani the other day, the timing for the project in 2015 was perfect. But the Memorandum of Understanding never resulted in something that was tangible. After MLB clubs decided to leave Venezuela because of the political tense and unsafe situation, those clubs had to move somewhere. Curaçao appeared to be the perfect location. Right in the center of the Caribbeans and a baseball hotbed. Project 421 as it was called was welcomed by MLB enthusiastically.
But the project never got off the ground as the Isle of Curaçao had several changes of governments and many of those governments thought the money that the project would cost could be spent in a better way.
All who are involved think that project 421 is a beautiful opportunity for Curaçao. On an annual basis, about 10 to 20 million dollars can be brought into the bank. “Per capita, Curaçao is producing the most MLB players, so wouldn’t it be great if there could be an academy for four MLB clubs to prepare their players for the Major Leagues,” Powers stated. Powers en Daryanani are hanging out with current bench coach of the San Francisco Giants, Hensley Meulens.
According to Powers, the original MoU needs to be updated. The update will go to Steven Martina who will discuss it within the government. The government will have to appoint a piece of ground that can be exploited by International Baseball Partners. The terrain will remain the property of the government that will receive a nice amount for rent for a long period of time.
We will go to the MLB clubs to see if they are still interested. Powers states that it is very likely the MLB clubs will be interested as the Dominican Republic is very crowded with all of the baseball academies located there. It appears IBP has found several investors that are interested in the project. And according to Daryanani things can go fast, especially when you look to certain hotel resort projects that were realized on Curaçao.
Perhaps the kickoff can be somewhere in 2019 so the academies can start at the end of 2020.