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The "lack of hard facts" on how the City of San Diego will contribute $225M toward the Padres ballpark "makes it virtually impossible to assess the project's financial risks," according to the city's Task Force on Ballpark Planning Chair Pat Shea, who added that the "information vacuum threatens to erode public confidence in the project." The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE's Philip LaVelle writes that the $225M would be raised by issuing bonds to be repaid by the city's hotel-room tax, but what's "not clear is exactly how the project would cut into the hotel-tax revenue stream." It is "likely -- but not committed to any document the public has seen -- that most of it would come from new revenues produced by hotels not yet built." Also unknown is what portion of these revenues would be taken from the 200 or so civic programs that "rely" on the tax. Those decisions are up to S.D. Mayor Susan Golding and the City Council, which will meet again today to discuss the details (UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17). In addition, two county supervisors say Golding "has misled the public by stating the current" ballpark proposal "lacks only" $21M in additional funding, and that the funding gap is much larger. Golding's spokesperson Mary Anne Pintar called the allegations "totally outrageous" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17). WORK TO DO: In examining the team's agreement with the city, business writer Philip LaVelle wrote that while the Padres want to place the measure on the November 3 ballot, a "lack of hotel industry participation in the pro-ballpark campaign would be a glaring absence in the coalition the Padres hope to form." In addition, the team and Golding "will have to answer" why "so much public investment" should go toward the project (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/16).
In Toronto, work on the Air Canada Centre "ground to a halt" Wednesday, when construction workers honored a picket line by striking crane operators. The strike isn't expected to affect the arena's opening (TORONTO STAR, 7/16)....Scott Clark, President of Clark Companies, a design and construction firm which specializes in athletic fields, estimates that the installation of a grass field at Giants Stadium will cost $2.5-3M, plus $400,000 to $500,000 a year in upkeep. Giants Stadium is the "first and only testing ground" for Clark's new system and Clark's work at the Meadowlands is profiled in today's N.Y. POST and N.Y. DAILY NEWS (7/17)....The St. Petersburg City Council approved the spending of $200,500 in "unexpected" costs for renovations to Tropicana Field. The Devil Rays will split the bill, which was for work necessary to ensure the stadium being ready for the team's inaugural game in March 31 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/17).
MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran said yesterday that the Patriots "must choose between the House's version of a bill to help the team rebuild Foxboro Stadium or no state aid at all," according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Finneran said that he "still opposed" the Senate's version of the stadium bill, which "is more generous" to team Owner Robert Kraft than the House version. Finneran added that he "would reject any attempt to have the House vote" on the Senate bill. A Patriots spokesperson declined comment. The House bill, passed last fall, authorizes $50M in state funds for improvements to roads, light and other infrastructure around Foxboro and Kraft, in return, would refurbish the stadium. Unlike the Senate version, the House bill "did not include funds to purchase the land and lease it back to Kraft." The MA session ends July 31, and if no action is taken, the bills "automatically die" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17).