SBD/25/Facilities Venues

NEW LEAFS ARENA PROPOSAL BRINGS MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

          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).  

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