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Unlike their professional brethren, the Univ. of Houston plans on extending its lease at the Astrodome. Houston AD Bill Carr notes their lease ends after this year, but he expects to begin discussions soon and hopes to get a multi-year agreement. The Cougars have played at the Astrodome since 1965 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/17)....Univ. of Maryland officials expect the second phase of renovation on Byrd Stadium to be completed by September 1. Improvements include a new upper deck on the North side of the stadium that brings seating capacity to 48,000. The stadium will also have new restrooms and concession stands. The total cost is $42.2M (Kevin Seifert, WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/17).
Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke continues to battle for fast- track approval for a new stadium site in Landover, MD. But he is hearing opposition from groups who want guarantees that "blacks get a hefty slice of the economic pie," according to this morning's WASHINGTON POST. The site is located in Prince George's County, which has an African-American majority population. Opposition groups say they fear Cooke's push for quick approval "would circumvent their ability to review the project." Cooke attorney Gerard Evans called those protesting "anti-everything organizations." Evans: "Frankly, I would have been shocked if they did support the stadium" (Terry Neal, WASHINGTON POST, 8/17).
Stephen Tocco, MA Gov. William Weld's "point man" on the megaplex project, said yesterday that the governor's office "might agree to splitting up the project and building its pieces at separate locations," writes Richard Kindleberger in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE. Tocco said the prospects of separate baseball and football stadiums along with a stand-alone convention center "was only an option." However, Kindleberger writes that "his remarks appeared to reflect the dimming prospects for a combined facility." Tocco said yesterday that the breakup of the megaplex may now mean that a new stadium for the Patriots would be an open-air facility. Kindleberger reports "if the megaplex were broken up, the state might help the Patriots" build the facility "since a more-expensive, domed facility would no longer be needed to hold convention-related events. ... Such help might include providing a site and highway-transit improvements." That site could be the CrossTown site rejected for the megaplex in the city's Roxbury section, the GLOBE reports. Tocco suggested that the Patriots and Red Sox could possibly build adjacent stadiums at the CrossTown site and share infrastructure costs. However, Red Sox Exec VP John Buckley "said the team remains committed to its chosen South Boston site" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/17).
The plan for a new Brewers stadium will include "a call for new taxes in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties," but excludes other counties in the Milwaukee area, sources tell the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The plan is expected to propose a one-tenth of a penny increase in sales taxes in the two counties and possibility an increase in hotel and motel room taxes. The Brewers are expected to contribute: The value of the naming rights for the facility -- with Miller Brewing mentioned as a candidate; a down payment of $10M-$15M; and a loan to the team from the WI Housing and Economic Development Authority. Milwaukee County would be expected to contribute money for infrastructure costs, including the land for the facility -- the current parking lot just beyond centerfield at County Stadium. The plan will reportedly call for the creation of a stadium authority which could raise the taxes discussed to finance the project (Craig Gilbert, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/17).