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While terms of the Milwaukee business community's $14M in pledged assistance toward a Brewers stadium continue to be "hammered out," Northwestern Mutual Life and Johnson Controls -- the largest private and public companies in the state -- are ready to participate, according to the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Meanwhile, funding from the city in the form of a $15M loan is also coming together. The exact structure of the loan is still unclear, but one scenario has the city borrowing the $15M and funneling it to the city Redevelopment Authority. The Authority would then pass the money over to a non-profit corporation, which would loan it to the Brewers. A resolution endorsing the loan will be introduced at the next Council meeting on July 12 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/2). Meanwhile, the five-county sales tax approved by the WI Legislature last fall to pay for $160M of the stadium's $250M price tag is now expected to bring in $24.8M by June '97 -- 13% more than originally anticipated (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/2).
The VA General Assembly's Joint Legislative Subcommittee for Stadium Financing has tentatively approved a $300M "blueprint" to build a baseball stadium in Northern VA. Team ownership would pay up to 1/3 of the cost, either up front or in annual lease payments, while a state lottery is expected to bring in an additional $14M a year. Another $4M a year would be obtained from various sales, corporate, income and franchise taxes collected from stadium operations over 30 years. No new taxes would be imposed. Virginia Baseball Exec VP Michael Scanlon called the vote a "grand slam" for the group, which is seeking to buy a team and move it to the area. Scanlon predicted the full Legislature will hold off voting on the package until they are closer to buying a team (THE DAILY). One "major detail" to be determined is whether taxpayers or the team will pay if lottery or stadium revenue is less than expected, according to Spencer Hsu of the WASHINGTON POST. Meanwhile, lawmakers stressed they were giving the "minimum necessary support" to Virginia Baseball as they head to the All-Star Game to lobby owners to support their bid. Scanlon said the financing plan "ought to get some attention" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/2). SITE-SEEING: A source familiar with the process says at least eight new sites have been proposed. The VA Baseball Stadium Authority hopes to pick a "preferred site" by October (Spencer Hsu, WASHINGTON POST, 7/2).
If the Reds choose to renovate Riverfront Stadium instead of building a new ballpark, Hamilton County residents would receive a sales-tax rollback, according to the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. County Commission President Bob Bedinghaus refused to confirm that renovation is still an option for the Reds, but he said that such a choice would lead to an "early end" for the half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters on March 19. Sources close to the situation say that renovation would not require the Reds to make any financial contribution, but that the club would be expected to invest $25-30M in a new facility (Steven Goodin, CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER, 7/1). SCHOTT INVOLVED: Despite her ban from the club's daily activities, Reds Owner Marge Schott will play a "dominant role" in any stadium decisions, according to the team. Reds spokesperson Charles Henderson says Schott continues to have "input" into the stadium process, noting: "The people in New York made it clear that she can serve in an advisory capacity" (CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER, 7/1).
Joe Robbie Stadium President Bob Kramm says that American Airlines and Huizenga Holdings are "on course" to rename the facility. American Airlines Stadium or American Airlines Joe Robbie Stadium are possible name choices (MIAMI HERALD, 7/2)....Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES examines the Islanders "understandable yen" for a refurbished Nassau Coliseum or new arena, noting: "When you're in a dingy 24-year old joint with a lousy lease, it's easy to suffer from arena envy" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/2)....A group called "Neighbors of Dodger Stadium" has obtained 2,000 signatures objecting to a football stadium near Chavez Ravine (USA TODAY BASEBALL WEEKLY, 6/26 issue)....Ice Palace GM Bob Rice says there "simply are no negatives" about progress on the arena's construction and future booking schedule. The facility is expected to be hockey-ready for the Lightning's home opener in October (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/2)....Fueled by the opening of the Ice Palace and the reality of Devil Rays baseball at the ThunderDome in '98, a commuter ferry service between St. Petersburg and Tampa could be operating by early next year (TAMPA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/1).....Fort Lauderdale's failed bid to become home to the Panthers' new Broward County arena cost the city almost $60,000. The total cost of the project was nearly $90,000, but the Panthers have reimbursed the city $36,373. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle: "That was pouring money down a rat hole" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/2).