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City officials "declared an impasse" yesterday in its negotiations with the Denver Nuggets for a new arena. Officials on both sides said that they hoped negotiations would resume -- possibly as early as today. The main sticking point in the discussions is money, and how much the city will receive from the team. It has been agreed that the team would leave McNichols Sports Arena and enter into a 30-year lease at a new arena. The Nuggets would then manage not only the new arena, but also McNichols and the Denver Coliseum. In turn, the city would receive an annual payment of $2.2M, which "represents the revenue the city currently earns" from McNichols and the Colisuem. Under the proposal, payments would increase 3% per year. However, the sticking point is the city "insists" the annual payment increase with inflation (Lopez & Monroe, DENVER POST, 1/12).
Officials from the Lightning are aiming to complete their complex arena deal in time for the '96 season, now that they have missed the deadline for '95. Team attorney Steve Pankau said that in order to meet the new deadline, the deal may need to be "wrapped up" by next month. Pankau: "Bonds to finance construction of the $110 million to $120 million arena will be sold in mid-February at the earliest. Waiting beyond then could jeopardize a '96 opening" (Kevin Walker, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/11). With an end to the NHL lockout, Lightning Governor David LeFevre was sure the arena will be built (Tom McEwen, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/12).
Abe Pollin's downtown arena project "has a long way to go" before any games can be played in the new building, according to a report in this morning's WASHINGTON POST. Although DC Mayor Marion Barry says that the project is on the "fast track," Pollin must win an "array of bureaucratic approvals and a mountain of official papers must be pushed." In the coming weeks, the DC Council will have to take "four separate votes on arena matters." Among the issues to be voted on: the collection of a tax from city businesses to pay for the city's share of development costs ($20M), financing details, and approval of a binding lease for city property at Gallery Place. The deal also requires approval from Congress and zoning authorities, and an "environmental assessment" (Howard Schneider, WASHINGTON POST, 1/12).