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A proposal for a replacement for Fenway Park was unveiled by MA-based architects Eduardo Lozano and Michael Baskin last week in Boston. The plan calls for a new park to be built next to the current location on a deck over the Mass Turnpike, linking it with the Hynes Veterans Convention Center, via a half-mile pedestrian walkway (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6). Red Sox VP John Buckley denies any claims that the two parties have met, but another source insists that meetings have been held without Buckley's knowledge (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 1/6).
A proposed change in federal law has "knocked the foundation out from under the elaborate financial plans for a public purchase" of the Target Center arena. A way may be found to restructure a buyout plan that works "financially and politically, but for now the proposal put in place" by the MN Legislature last spring "is dead." The new federal law says that a public body may not use tax-free bonds to buy a facility -- such as the Target Center -- if the building is used for the benefit of a private tenant, such as the Timberwolves. For more than a year, the officials planning the arena purchase thought that tax-free bonds could be used if the money to repay the bonds came from new admission taxes and surcharges rather than from direct lease payments by the Wolves. Henry Savelkoul, Chair of the MN Sports Facilities Commission: "If we follow the rules and the state law, the deal just doesn't work, and we can't make it work." The latest development in the "tortuous buyout negotiations has the potential to kill Glen Taylor's purchase of the T-Wolves -- a purchase that is still contingent on a public takeover of the arena" (Patrick Sweeney, St. Paul PIONEER PRESS, 1/9).
As the WI Governor's Stadium Commission concludes its business over the next three weeks, questions will have to be answered regarding a new facility for the Brewers. Questions remain how much the team will contribute to the $200M-plus project, how much the public will pay, and where that public money will come from. But as Craig Gilbert writes in the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, "While the stadium project has apparently evolved over time from a largely private one to a largely public one, the implications of that have never been made explicit to the public." Brewers VP/General Counsel Wendy Selig-Prieb on publicly-assisted financing of a new stadium: "I don't believe the public will be surprised. I think there is a much higher sophistication of knowledge about the sports business than there has ever been" (Craig Gilbert, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 1/8).