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RED TAPE TAKES HOLD OF D.C. DOWNTOWN ARENA PLANS
Published September 15, 1994
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).