SBD/16/Facilities Venues

ROCKET MAN THINKS IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG, LONG TIME...

          Rockets Exec Senior VP John Thomas said that Harris
     County-Houston Sports Authority Chair Jack Rains "has placed
     football as a top priority" in Houston and told Thomas "to
     consider moving the franchise to the suburbs," according to
     John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  In response, Thomas
     sent Rains and other officials a letter asking for
     clarifications about "certain concerns and questions" that
     arose after a December 8 meeting between the two sides. 
     Thomas also sent the letter to other city, county and NBA
     officials.  In his letter, Thomas said Rains' remarks could
     lead to "a situation of grave uncertainty for a franchise
     that is trying to be competitive in today's world of sports
     arenas."  Rains said there "has been some serious
     miscommunication" with the Rockets and said he does not want
     the team to leave the city" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/16).
          BALLPARK STEPS: The authority signed a final deal
     yesterday with Brown & Root to build a downtown ballpark for
     a "guaranteed" $229.5M.  KC-based HOK will receive $18.5M
     from the authority, bringing the cost of the facility to
     $248M, under the targeted $250M (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/16).
     
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