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TAMPA BAY TIDBITS: ARENA OPENING DELAYED? RAYS SIGN
Published April 28, 1995
Lightning Governor David LeFevre said construction of the new downtown Tampa arena may not be ready by the October '96 goal, according to today's ST. PETE TIMES. Construction of the 21,000-seat arena began months ago, but the team needs another extension to prepare a financing plan. In the meantime, the Lightning has opened talks with St. Pete officials about extending their ThunderDome lease (Richard Danielson, ST. PETE TIMES, 4/28). The Tampa Sports Authority and the City Council extended Sunday's deadline to get $60M in financing until June 30 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/28). RAYS LEASE: The St. Pete City Council reluctantly approved a 30-year lease for the Devil Rays at the Thunderdome. Under the lease, the city must raise $50M for renovations while handing over management of Dome events to the Rays. The city also will be responsible for insurance, traffic control and a portion of the maintenance costs. In return, the city receives $.50 for every ticket sold for any event. While council members acknowledged "the lease is no winner, they said the city got what it wanted -- a team." (Noam Neusner, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/28). The Rays take over Dome management in January '98 (ST. PETE TIMES, 4/28).