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Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander said Thursday he "will drop his lawsuit to get out of Compaq Center before his lease expires in 2003 because he is satisfied officials will have a new arena by then," according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Alexander has spent "about three years" trying to get a new arena in Houston, arguing that the team can't stay competitive without luxury suites, club seats and "other revenue boosters." Harris County-Houston Sports Authority member Michael Stevens said that the Authority had "started preliminary negotiations with Alexander." In other news, Alexander said he will "renew efforts" to acquire 25% of the Vikings with a new investor group after Tom Clancy withdrew his bid on Wednesday (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/22).
Hamilton County officials sold $273M in bonds on Tuesday, the "final financing instruments for the Bengals' new stadium," according to Lucy May of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The county received an "average" 5.16% interest rate on the bonds. Earlier this year, the county issued $71.6M in bonds at a 4.87% interest rate, and in all, the county has sold $344.6M in bonds to pay for the stadium. May wrote that is "considerably more" than the original estimate of $322.7M, but officials cite the rising land cost as one reason for the increase. The bonds will be paid off by a half-cent county sales tax increase (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/20). May reported yesterday that "even with the favorable interest rates," documents show that interest payments will total more than $353M over the 30-year debt. Combined interest for the $273M in bonds sold Tuesday and the $71.6M bond issue in January "brings the total cost of the project," including the stadium complex plus financing costs, to more than $753M. Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus "stressed" that the cost of the $400.3M football complex hasn't changed and said that county officials "plan to pay off the debt early" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/21).
Boston city officials "downplayed" a report on "Inside Edition" about food safety violations at Fenway Park. Inspectional Services Department's John Eade: "We're in the (television rating) sweeps. That's their story. I don't want to respond to that." Aramark President of Stadiums and Arenas John Pistone said the company will offer "additional training" to employees (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/22)....Dallas officials "are putting final touches" on a plan to lease the Cotton Bowl to "a private group of business leaders that intends to dome" the stadium (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/22). ...Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke is asking City Council to approve a $450,000 study "to examine potential sites and the economic benefits" of building a newer, larger Baltimore Arena (Baltimore SUN, 5/22)....In Denver, the stadium board "recommended tearing down McNichols Sports Arena to make way for a new Broncos stadium." Final decision is up to the Denver City Council (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/22)....With no roof at Olympic Stadium, the temperature at the Expos' game yesterday "was around" 15 degrees with a "brisk wind." The announced crowd was 7,601, but there were "fewer than 1,000 on hand" for the last two innings (GAZETTE, 5/22).