SBD/6/Facilities Venues

HAWKS NOT LIKELY TO FLY FROM OMNI NEST

     The new $215M Hawks arena will be built on the site of the
Omni Coliseum "unless something dramatic changes drastically,"
Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell's Chief of Staff, Steven Labovitz,
told Unger & Saporta of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  A competing
location -- the railroad gulch owned by Norfolk Southern across
from the Omni -- is preferred by some civic leaders because of a
"better" bridge between CNN Center and Underground Atlanta and
the fact that events could continue at the Omni while the new
arena was being built.  Although the city and Turner Broadcasting
System, which owns the Hawks, continue to negotiate with Norfolk
Southern, they remain "several million dollars apart on a
purchase price."  If the Omni is chosen, the Hawks will have to
play at the Georgia Dome and Georgia Tech for two seasons, while
the current building is razed and replaced by the fall of '99.
Recreation Authority Attorney Caryl Smith warned if legislation
offered by U.S. Sen. Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) regarding the tax
exempt status of bonds used on stadium and arena is passed, it
would remove the tax exemption for $55-60M in bonds to be used
for public improvements around the new Omni.  Turner Exec Brad
Ferrer: "I'm not sure about the project if the public improvement
bonds are taxable."  Campbell's Chief-of-Staff Labovitz said that
the arena itself would be financed by a second bond issue, which
is taxable, amounting to $140-150M (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/6).
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