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Raptors officials are altering designs for the new stadium to include 1,000 more seats for basketball and make room for the possible acquisition of the Maple Leafs. Raptors stadium project director Jay Cross called it "a streamlined design." Maple Leaf Gardens is considered too small for NBA basketball and Raptors VP Tom Mayenknecht noted "the asset is the hockey team, not necessarily the building." Also, an industry source has indicated the Raptors have a deadline at the end of this month to resolve negotiations with the proposed stadium site's new owners. Mayenknecht's response: "We're interested in proceeding with the task at hand. We're preparing for construction next summer" (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 9/13).
K.C.-based stadium architecture firm, HOK Sport, unveiled its Riverfront Stadium renovation study yesterday. One option reconfigures the baseball field to place home plate in the outfield, build "unsymmetrical" outfield walls, 40 luxury boxes, and possibly shrink the stadium capacity from 55,000 to 45,000 in order to offer "made-for-TV panoramic views" of the city skyline, a picnic section, permanent dugouts, and a stadium club that resembles the one at Cleveland's Jacobs Field. HOK's football plan suggests lowering the field and adding more seats, including 23 enclosed luxury suites and 2,500 clubs seats available for a $1,500 "down payment." Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls said the two plans can be chosen according to the "concept which is more financially acceptable to the teams." The study was paid for by Reds CEO and owner Marge Schott and her advisers, attorney Stan Chesley and Turfway Park owner Jerry Carroll (Richard Green, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/13). THEIR NEW KENTUCKY HOME? In a related column, Mark Purdy calls the study an important time- and money-saving piece for the city's stadium task force even if, as Stan Chesley said at yesterday's presentation, none of the individuals involved are "in the position to buy the stadium." Purdy suggests the city decide "as regional public policy" that Riverfront will be remodeled for either the Reds or Bengals and a new stadium will be built for the team not chosen. Purdy notes a cheaper option is to build a new stadium in KY near Turfway Park for the team moving out of Riverfront (Mark Purdy, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/13).