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Developer Kingdon Gould confirmed yesterday that he has discussed a joint "undertaking" with Jack Kent Cooke to build a stadium on his land in Prince George's County, MD, according to this morning's WASHINGTON POST. The stadium would be the center of the Konterra development Gould is planning on building on the 2,000 acres of land he owns on either side of I-95, just north of the Capital Beltway. Gould says he would be involved in a stadium project: "I wouldn't sell the property to Mr. Cooke. I'm not very good at selling." However, Gould emphasized that the Konterra site is still a backup site for the stadium. Cooke has been in a "zoning fight" with officials in Anne Arundel County, MD, over a proposed site just four miles north of the Konterra site, near Laurel Race Track. Prince George's County officials say they are "leery about being used as a negotiating tool by Cooke, who has eyed sites across the metropolitan area for five years." MD Delegate James Rosapepe says the fact that Cooke has not commented himself on the Konterra site "concerns" him: "It seems to me that he ought to come clean if he's thinking about this location" (Michael Abramowitz, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7). One Prince George's Councilman Walter Maloney is already saying that traffic problems make Konterra "unsuitable" for a stadium (Rivera & Morris, Baltimore SUN, 2/7).
The 33-member Fairfax County, VA, task force unanimously recommended three sites for a proposed MLB stadium last night after two months of discussion. A 164-acre site near Dulles Airport, 80 acres near the Tysons Corner shopping development and a site currently owned by the U.S. Army near Springfield, will compete with sites in Loudoun County if Northern VA is selected for MLB expansion. Fairfax County officials will not make any further evaluation of the sites until MLB makes a decision. If selected, state officials "plan to establish" a stadium authority that would acquire financing for a park. The county has a $300M plan to build and lease a 50,000-seat stadium (Lorraine Woellert, WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/7). The Tysons Corner site was lauded by several committee members as "an excellent location, because it is the county's 'downtown' and because a stadium there would speed the process of extending commuter rail to Tysons." Opponents of all three sites cited traffic concerns (Eric Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7).
MA legislative leaders say they "won't be pressured" by Patriots Owner Robert Kraft into financing projects to keep the team from leaving the state. Gov. William Weld is expected to file a legislative package worth "something less than" $100M to help Kraft build a training camp and improve access to Foxboro Stadium. But the BOSTON GLOBE's Scot Lehigh writes, "At a time when some states and cities are bending over backward to keep their professional teams happy, and others have wooed NFL teams with huge revenue guarantees, the prevailing attitude among Beacon Hill legislative leaders is that it is inappropriate to use public resources to help a private enterprise." Thomas Finneran, MA House Ways and Means chair, says Kraft's image as a "local savior" for buying the team should not give him the "right to expect the state to bail him out of a bad business deal." House Speaker Charles Flaherty: "The last time I checked Rome, London, Paris or Tokyo, none of them had an NBA, NFL, NHL or major league baseball franchise, and I think anybody would list them in the top 10 world-class cities" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/6).
The City of Ottawa has hired a communications firm to sell the naming rights to the city's baseball stadium for C$2M in order to recover some of the cost of building the stadium. Chelsea Communications convinced the city that it could find a sponsor for that price -- even after the city failed to convince any corporations to buy the rights for C$1.5M. Chelsea will keep a 15% commission if it can strike a deal. Pierre Grandmaitre, Ottawa's acting commissioner for recreation and culture: "They are telling me they can sell it for $2M, so why should I say no?" (Brandie Weikle, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2/6).