SBD/15/Facilities Venues

RED TAPE TAKES HOLD OF D.C. DOWNTOWN ARENA PLANS

     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).
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Facilities, Washington Capitals

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