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WITHOUT MAJOR TENANT, NEW ARENA IN SAN DIEGO ON BACK BURNER
Published November 28, 1995
The prospect of building a new arena in downtown San Diego is "dubious at best," according to Barry Bloom of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Although the city has control of the project and can offer full control to a franchise owner willing to move an NBA or NHL team, the city does "not intend to dangle financial giveaways similar to the huge sums recently awarded" NFL teams. City Manager Jack McGrory said the city will not fully fund an estimated $154.8M arena without a "substantial investment from a team," adding "it is not realistic to expect a rent-free sports arena." Without a team, the city would be on the hook for close to $7-8M a year to operate the building and service the debt. Gaining an expansion franchise is not likely as the NBA does not plan to expand until the turn of the century and the NHL will not move there "without approval" of the Mighty Ducks, who claim San Diego as part of their territory. Therefore, arena plans have "been placed on the city's back burner" and questions remain on the city's ability to support pro sports. McGrory: "If the business community wants to help come up with the money, we'll do it. But things like that don't happen in this town." Mighty Ducks President Tony Tavares: "You've got the failure of two basketball teams, the Padres' problem drawing people to baseball games. Even the IHL moved out. ... Those things are going to impact whether anyone wants to go in there with an NBA or NHL team" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 11/27).