SBD/25/Facilities Venues

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              The city of Denver has paid $1.5M in legal, financing
         and engineering consultants to handle issues concerning
         replacing Mile High Stadium and McNichols Arena since '91,
         according to Alan Snel of the DENVER POST.  Snel: "Hiring
         sports consultants poses an age-old dilemma for cities. 
         Faced with local professional teams seeking new taxpayer-
         subsidized stadiums, municipalities nationwide have to
         decide whether it's more cost-effective to create in-house
         positions to handle complicated stadium negotiations or hire
         private-sector consultants for those jobs."  Denver has
         "gone the consultant route" and its top money-makers have
         been local development lawyer Tom Ragonetti and MN sports
         finance consultant Craig Skiem (DENVER POST, 11/23).   
              IS IT WORTH IT? Snel listed all sports facility-related
         expenditures, which included $255,866 to Coopers & Lybrand
         from '91-95 for financing advice on "sports trends" and the
         arena issue.  The city has also paid Skiem's MN-based CSL
         Entertainment $215,605 over six years.  City Council
         President Cathy Reynolds: "Yeah, the city spent a lot of
         money on consultants.  But it's worth it."  Mayoral staffer
         Liz Orr said having people work in-house on sports "is a
         waste of taxpayer money."  Skiem added that he "doesn't know
         one city that has a full-time staff person that performs"
         his type of consulting duties (DENVER POST, 11/23).

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              The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority "acquired
         the final piece of land needed" to build the Astros new
         downtown ballpark when it completed the last of five eminent
         domain proceedings Monday, according to John Williams of the
         HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  In all five hearings, property owners
         received "substantially less than what they had sought"
         (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/25)....Abe Pollin, NFL facility
         consultant Rick Horrow and economist Roger Noll were
         participants at a stadium and arena financing forum at DC's
         Brookings Institute.  Noll, on proposed legislation by U.S.
         Senator Pat Moynihan (D-NY) that would take away the tax-
         exempt status of municipal bonds used to finance facilities:
         "If Congress eliminated the tax exemption on state and
         municipal bonds used to finance sports arenas and stadiums,
         the interest rates would go up and cause the public to think
         twice about each project" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/24).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Houston Astros, NFL

              In Toronto, the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place
         approved the Maple Leafs' "proposal for an arena and related
         development with record speed, but many questions surround
         the matter," according to David Shoalts of the Toronto GLOBE
         & MAIL.  The board passed the team's plans for a $200-250M
         investment in a 19,200-seat arena and a 1,400-space parking
         garage.  In addition, the team has "been granted" a five-
         year option to develop another 12.5 acres of property around
         the site.  If the plan is approved by Toronto's Metro
         Council on December 10, an 80-day period of due diligence
         will follow, with "neither side being bound to the deal
         financially or contractually."  Shoalts writes that the
         latter part of the deal "raises ... questions," since it
         allows the Leafs to "walk away" from Exhibition Place "at
         any time up to" the end of February.  Shoalts writes that
         speculation persists that the proposal is being used by the
         Leafs to force a "favourable partnership" with the Raptors
         at Air Canada Centre (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/25).  
              REAX: In Toronto, Damien Cox: "Don't read too much into
         the latest Maple Leaf arena scheme ... [T]he probability
         that all these bits and pieces can come together over the
         next 80 days ... seems somewhat far-fetched" (TORONTO STAR,
         11/25).  Also in Toronto, Craig Daniels reports that Leafs
         Minority Owner Larry Tanenbaum sat "four seats to the right"
         of Raptors Owner Allan Slaight at courtside during last
         night's Raptors game.  Although "neither side is admitting
         so," a "new dialogue" between the two teams "appears to be
         under way."  One source said that the Leafs are "using their
         interest" in the site at Exhibition Place as "leverage to
         ... negotiate a buy-in at Air Canada Centre, which naturally
         they would want to control" (TORONTO SUN, 11/25).  

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors

              The Penguins "apologized Monday for shutting public
         officials out of negotiations" to sell the Civic Arena
         naming rights to MD-based Allegheny Energy, but team
         officials "said that doesn't mean the deal is off,"
         according to Michael Coleman of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-
         REVIEW.  Penguins President Donn Patton said "he hopes to
         convince public officials" that the team's six-year, $5M
         deal to rename the Civic Arena the Allegheny Energy Dome "is
         good for the public."  Coleman: "Patton faces a tough sell. 
         The city-county Public Auditorium Authority, which owns the
         arena, unanimously approved a resolution yesterday
         authorizing its attorney to 'take all action necessary' to
         halt the agreement.  The resolution also said the public
         must be included in any future discussions about renaming
         the arena."  Councilmember Dan Cohen "questioned the
         relatively short term and low price of the deal," and said
         that the naming rights "could have been sold to the highest
         bidder."  An Allegheny Energy spokesperson said that the
         company "is still interested in a naming rights deal" at the
         Civic Arena, "regardless of how the current controversy
         plays out" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/25). 

    Print | Tags: Facilities, Pittsburgh Penguins
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