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Tampa Bay Lightning Governor David LeFevre announced IN- based Huber, Hunt & Nichols Inc., which built the ThunderDome, Chicago's United Center, and Anaheim's Arrowhead Pond has been contracted to build the team's new downtown arena by fall '95. Architect Ellerbe Becket Inc. said it is likely the Lightning will play in the ThunderDome next season since construction will run 15-17 months. But Tampa official Bob Leighton said the team has not contacted the city about extending its lease (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/15).
King County officials switched contractors for the Kingdome repair project yesterday. Seattle's Pacific Components Inc. is being replaced by MN-based M.A. Mortenson Co., which already leads $246.4M in county contracts. Pacific Components President Don Mar was "disappointed" to lose the $32.5M project but said his company did not have the "bonding capacity" for a project of this size. Kingdome repair project spokesperson Kathy Bunnell Johnson said the general contractor was switched because of a "change in the scope of the work and an earlier deadline." Bids were also opened yesterday for the roof resurfacing portion of the project and four companies are being considered in the next few days (George Foster, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/15). NCAA PASSES THROUGH: NCAA men's championship director Bill Hancock announced that plans for the Final Four at the Kingdome remain on schedule for next April following a tour of the dome Tuesday (Bill Knight, POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/14).
This morning's VANCOUVER SUN reports the Griffiths/ McCaw group now owns the C$163M "GM Place," set to open in September '95, which will house the group's NBA expansion franchise, the Grizzlies. The Griffiths/McCaw group bought the complex by purchasing remaining shares of Northwest Arena Corp for C$100/share. But Primex Investments President Art Rennison is resisting the share transfer, as he said he wants "proportionate ownership" for his 10% of Northwest Arena Corp. Rennison is accusing Arthur Griffiths of "co-opting the arena and the basketball franchise from Northwest shareholders." Rennison also said Primex's lawyers are sending a letter to Northwest's parent company, Northwest Sports Enterprises, asking them to recover the team and arena. If the letter fails, Rennison said he will go British Columbia Supreme Court to "order them to recover the assets." Griffiths has said he is negotiating with some new investors who the NBA has asked him not to identify (David Baines, VANCOUVER SUN, 9/15).
The GAO is "skeptical" of DC's ability to fund $16M in preliminary studies for construction of a downtown convention center/arena. House District Committee Chair Pete Stark (D-CA) requested two studies, to be released today, which identify no problems that prevent the city from eventually moving forward with the plans but question the financially-strapped District's resources for environmental, engineering and architectural studies. The city's plans depend on Congress changing DC's Home Rule Charter to allow specification of tax revenues. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly's legal counsel, Claude Bailey, said city officials are confident that the plans are "financeable and viable." But Kelly lost her Democratic primary Tuesday and might find her proposal "virtually shelved" by Marion Barry or Independent Bill Lightfoot (Vise & Henderson, WASHINGTON POST, 9/15). WAITING IN THE WINGS: BET President Robert Johnson, who is assembling a privately funded arena counterproposal, said his confidence was "bolstered" by GAO findings and believes "this deal ought to be in the private sector." Johnson will formally present his proposal October 15 which will depend on negotiations with Bullets and Capitals owner Able Pollin over lease terms (WASHINGTON POST, 9/15).