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RAPTORS HAVE INCREASED THEIR OFFER FOR DOWNTOWN ARENA SITE
Published November 29, 1994
The Raptors "are so hungry for a prime downtown site" for their planned arena "that they have upped their offer substantially, making a deal possible as early as this week, sources say." The team, facing a deadline to start construction, has "apparently added millions to their bid" for the downtown site. Raptors Chair David Peterson notes that the property is "extraordinarily attractive for a lot of obvious reasons." The new proposal, like the original offer, would likely be a mixture of some cash up front, more payments by regular installments and some sort of "marketing rights" for present owner Canada Post. "Marketing rights" could range from inside or outside arena signage to full naming rights. Raptors Owner John Bitove has said he hopes naming rights of the new arena gain the team C$30M. The site, now occupied by an empty warehouse, was worth as much as C$200M in '90, before the crash of the "then-booming real estate market." The Raptors' original offer for the site was estimated to be about C$14M. The property is reportedly on Canada Post's books at about C$65M. Canada Post "is still queasy about any deal because it's worried about giving the taxpayer- owned site away for too little." If groundbreaking on an arena is not done before October 1, the Raptors must pay the Ontario government C$1M. The team will play its first two seasons at SkyDome (David Israelson, TORONTO STAR, 11/29).