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RAPTORS DEAL STILL MUST CLEAR SOME HURDLES
Published December 23, 1994
The Raptors' new C$130M, 22,500-seat arena must still clear a few hurdles before the first shovel is turned at the downtown Toronto site. The team claims the taxpayers will not fund the project, but today's TORONTO STAR questions whether the project will turn into "another SkyDome" where "world-class bills" were paid by the taxpayer. Jay Cross, arena project manager for the Raptors: "Where we hope to be extremely different from SkyDome is that it's totally private-sector financed." Another problem the team faces is the land deal it recently agreed to with Canada Post for the arena site -- a "non-binding agreement in principle" with questions remaining over whether the team paid enough for the land. Analysts say the site was worth C$400M in a deal that fell through four years ago -- the Raptors paid C$50M. The STAR's Isrealson & Spears write, "What is the site worth? After all, even if the taxpayers aren't paying for the arena, Canada Post still belongs to us." The team still must also get approval from the city before the arena is built. Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall is said to be "cautious," but supportive of the plan (TORONTO STAR, 12/23).