SBD/25/Facilities Venues

MEGAPLEX COMMISSION PICKS A SITE; FINANCING THE NEXT ISSUE

     In recommending South Boston/Summer Street as the location
for a proposed convention center-sports complex costing $800M-1B,
the MA special megaplex commission "chose the site with the
biggest potential payoff -- but also the most daunting
challenges," according to Richard Kindleberger in this morning's
BOSTON GLOBE.  While the 10-3 vote for Summer Street over the
competing CrossTown project was a "major step forward for
megaplex boosters, commissioner said it was only a beginning.
The group still has to devise a plan to finance the project,
overcome potentially strong opposition from South Boston
residents and politicians and persuade the Legislature and Gov.
Weld to approve it."  On the issue of financing, the commission's
fiscal subcommittee was to meet today with the question of
possible fees and taxes on the agenda.  The commission is also
trying to convince companies -- ITT and Gillette are mentioned --
 to invest in the project (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).
     MONEY, MONEY:  MA Senate President William Bulger said a
hotel tax should be considered, if even for just the convention
center.  Gov. Weld has opposed all taxes for the project.
Commission members said the Patriots' contribution, $5M a year
for 25 years, would cover 30-40% of incremental stadium financing
costs.  Weld:  "The way out of the woods on (financing the
stadium) is to bring in partners from the private sector either
for naming rights or for other sorts of relationships with the
professional sports teams involved" (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD,
5/25).
     FROM THE TEAMS:  The plan includes new stadiums for both the
Patriots and Red Sox.  While Patriots Owner Robert Kraft had no
preference between sites, Red Sox CEO John Harrington was
"thrilled" with the choice.  Harrington:  "That's where we want
it to be, whether they go through with the megaplex or not.  This
would be perfect."  As for the Patriots, Kraft received
confirmation from NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue that he would
recommend Boston get the Super Bowl in 2001.  Will McDonough
notes, "In his five years in office, Tagliabue has seldom been so
aggressive on an issue like this" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).  While
Red Sox officials and commission members felt they could reach "a
conceptual deal" by June 1, other key issues, including
financing, must be cleared first.  The Red Sox have agreed to pay
$150M for their own stadium, but "they want land and
infrastructure to be provided" (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD,
5/25).
     OTHER REACTION:  A BOSTON GLOBE editorial notes:  "Site
selection is easy compared with the difficult matter of finance"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).  Senate President Bulger and U.S. Rep. Joe
Moakley, both from South Boston, withheld judgment.  Bulger:  "I
want to know what the impact is on the community" (BOSTON HERALD,
5/25).  Columnist Rachelle Cohen calls the site a "romantic
vision" and floats the possibility that some "powerful people in
town" wouldn't mind losing the football stadium portion of the
project (BOSTON HERALD, 5/25).  Community leaders in Roxbury,
home to CrossTown, "vowed a fight until the ground was broken to
bring the megaplex to Roxbury" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).
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