SBD/29/Facilities Venues

IS HAWKS' ARENA IN JEOPARDY AFTER NBA CAP-O-NOMICS KICK IN?

          In Atlanta, local government bodies "must vote all over
     again" on the city's proposed $213M downtown sports arena
     "because a key element of the financing has changed,"
     according to Saporta & Unger of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. 
     If the Atlanta City Council, Fulton County Commission or the
     Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority votes it down,
     the entire "project would be in jeopardy."  The change in
     the plan "affects what had been an important taxpayer
     safeguard," as the team had pledged all of its revenues to
     repay arena construction bonds if the facility's income
     wasn't enough to cover them, which "virtually guaranteed
     taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for any shortfall."  But the
     NBA now says Hawks players "would have to be paid first." 
     With the salary cap at "about" $25M, that much less revenue
     would be available back to the arena bonds.  Fulton County
     Commission Chair Mitch Skandalakis: "It seems odd that you
     would go into this thing not knowing what the NBA's position
     would be.  I'm not happy at all.  I think (the new arena
     proposal) stands little chance of passage from my board." 
     But Michael Coleman, counsel representing the Hawks, said
     they "have presented to the city and county staff a proposal
     that we think offers even better protection to the
     taxpayers" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/29).

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