Growing up in Miami Beach, Armando Gutierrez Jr. never knew his love for the all American pastime would bring him to the Beautiful City of Central Florida. But now, as a successful business man in Orlando, Gutierrez is adamantly pursuing the relocation of the Yankees’ High-A minor league baseball team from Tampa to Orlando. A daunting task for any man, it may come as more of a surprise that Gutierrez is only 28-years-old.
In a press conference last week, Gutierrez, standing side-by-side with the New York Yankees and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, announced that they are in the initial stages of an agreement to construct a new minor league baseball stadium and a sportsthemed museum in Orlando.
While Orange County has offered the young entrepreneur a piece of land on which to build, Gutierrez ensures that funding for the stadium will be contributed through investors.
According to Mayor Crotty, no tax money will be used to construct the stadium or move the team to Orlando.
“I can tell you as the number one tourist destination in the world with the family friendly environment that we offer; baseball makes perfect sense to me.” Mayor Crotty said, “We are very interested in working with the Yankee organization to make this a reality here for our community in Central Florida.”
The proposed county owned land is located on International Drive next to SeaWorld’s Aquatica theme park. Both Gutierrez and the Yankees agree that this would be a prime location because of its central positioning in the city.
Gutierrez grew up in South Florida and is the son of Cuban-born parents Armando and Maritza Gutierrez. A graduate of the University of Miami and Harvard University, Gutierrez made his living through real estate. In 2002, he built and almost completely sold out a five story condominium near Jackson Hospital with partners Martin and Michael Margulies.
“Armando bought land in a neighborhood, where nobody wanted to buy. His vision for the area has helped transform it into something very positive,” Armando Gutierrez Sr. said.
The New York Yankees originally approached Gutierrez with talks of relocating the Tampa Yankees down Interstate 4 into the boundaries of Orange County. They hoped that by moving the team to Orlando, which has no professional baseball team of its own, would help boost attendance rates. Orlando is one of the largest media markets in the country without any form of baseball.
“Orlando is a great place for a new attraction like this, a new attraction that will help fill the void in the sports community.” Gutierrez Jr. continued, “We look forward to making Mr. Steinbrenner’s family very proud of what we were going to do here in Central Florida.”
It could take a while to finalize the details, but Gutierrez says that he wants the Orlando Yankees to play ball in 2013.