SBD/Issue 55/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
The MLB Cardinals named Indianapolis-based Hunt Construction Group (HCG) as the lead designer/builder for the team's new $402M ballpark in St. Louis (Cardinals). In St. Louis, Doug Moore noted that HCG "was selected over three other contractors none based in St. Louis." Cardinals President Mark Lamping said that "much of the work would be subcontracted, paving the way for St. Louis companies to participate in construction of the new stadium." John Loyd who the Cardinals hired to manage construction of the new ballpark said that the Cardinals selected HCG "because of the company's experience in ballpark construction." Loyd worked with HCG when he was overseeing construction of Jacobs Field (POST-DISPATCH, 11/28).
VIKINGS' STADIUM SEARCH: Vikings Owner Red McCombs, on finding a stadium site: "I'm here waiting for a suburb to jump up and say, 'We want the Vikings.' Nobody has stepped up just yet. ... But really for us, where the actual site is doesn't matter" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/2). In St. Paul, Glenda Holste wrote under the header, "Vikings Get Greedy In Their Relentless Drive For New Stadium" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/29). Meanwhile, a Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE editorial stated that placing the Vikings and the Univ. of MN on the same site "remains a worthy goal, one that's in the state's best interest. But satisfying each side will be exceedingly difficult. ... Voters are in no mood to help finance two football stadiums, after all. ... A Vikings-Gophers solution will be difficult, especially with no model to follow" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/29).Padres Ballpark Plans Changing
HITTING THE WALL? In San Diego, Jonathan Heller writes that JMI Realty, the Padres' development arm, "faces a more than six-month battle to convince city officials and a skeptical public that it needs condominium towers of 20-plus stories to make its plans for ballpark district development pencil out." But East Village residents said the construction would "wall off" the ballpark from the community (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/2). A SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE editorial stated, "Instead of a large slope where families could watch the game, the scaled-back park would be virtually flat, and views of the game would be obstructed by a security fence and the back of the outfield bleachers. ... Changing the Park at the Park from a very appealing place for San Diegans into a courtyard walled off from the ball field is a bad idea. It breaks faith with all the people who have been supportive and excited about the ballpark district" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/30).
NOTES: In Baltimore, Tom Keyser wrote that the "stewardship of Maryland thoroughbred racing passed [Wednesday] from the Maryland Jockey Club into the hands of Magna Entertainment Corp. when officials of both companies signed documents finalizing their $117.5 million deal." The closing took place at Baltimore-based Venable, Baetjer and Howard, which reps the Maryland Jockey Club. Magna Entertainment Corp. now owns a majority interest in Pimlico, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center (Baltimore SUN, 11/28)....Sharks officials "say they're listening and reacting to the complaints of unhappy" fans about the safety netting at HP Pavilion. Sharks President Greg Jamison: "We are going to hang, sometime this year, another generation of netting that hopefully will be an improvement." In San Jose, David Pollak wrote, "Gauging acceptance is difficult. While it's easy to find fans who have adjusted, the crowd still boos virtually every time the puck goes into the netting." Sharks VP Kent Russell added that "about 100 season-ticket holders have registered strong objections" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/30).
ISC execs said that they still want to build a racetrack in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, despite not making the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority's "list of finalists to develop" the site of the Continental Airlines Arena, which is set for demolition, according to Sandra Pedicini of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. While area residents and merchants, "worried about noise and traffic, have protested [ISC's recent proposal] vehemently," ISC plans "to continue negotiating" with the Meadowlands. ISC, which began studying the Meadowlands site in '00, "has turned back to a 2-year-old proposal that skeptics say is also doomed." Meanwhile, land owners in other N.Y. metro-area spots contacted ISC last week about developing a racetrack on an alternative site (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/30).
Members of the Memphis City Council "raised questions about a possible conflict of interest last week" after learning K.C.-based CECO Concrete Construction, which is owned by Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley's private family trust, had landed a contract to do some work on the FedExForum, according to Blake Fontenay of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. CECO's hiring was "one of many issues that prompted council members to call for an independent audit" of the $250M arena project. But John Wood, Senior VP for the project's general contractor, M.A. Mortenson Co., said that CECO won the job "fair and square" after nine national firms "were invited to bid." Wood added that CECO's $2.9M estimate was "in line with the bid the company later submitted," while the other preliminary estimates came in at $3.8-4.3M. Wood: "CECO was the obvious choice, and we're very pleased to have them. The fact that they are owned somewhere along the way by the Heisley corporation is just a happy coincidence, as far as we're concerned." Heisley added, "I don't believe there's a conflict of interest. I would be astounded if we didn't do everything above board" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/1).