SBD/Issue 46/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
DC Council members Monday “refused to endorse” the use of about $400M in private funding from BW Realty to build a ballpark along the Anacostia River “because it would require the city to reopen negotiations with” MLB, according to David Nakamura of the WASHINGTON POST. One of the “major concerns” is that the plan “would require the owners of the new Washington team to pay for cost overruns.” DC Council member Jack Evans said that changing the terms of the deal “is a ‘non-starter’ because [MLB] would not go along.” BW Realty’s Richard Gross acknowledged that the city “would have to go back” to MLB, but said, “If you think this is the best deal you can get, then let’s quit and vote now and save time. But I am not averse to going to baseball and trying to do it differently.” Council Chair Linda Cropp, who has called Mayor Anthony Williams’ plan “too costly and too reliant on public money,” said of BW Realty’s plan, “I’m not pushing this one. I’m pushing a concept: that we look at alternative ways of financing a stadium” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/16). Cropp indicated that her office is “receiving offers from all over the local business community” for private ballpark funding. In DC, Eric Fisher reports Cropp had received ten proposals “as of last week, and the number of solicitations now is believed to be more than twice that.” One proposal came “from a group of unnamed banks in the region who want to be part of the stadium deal” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/16).
EDITORIALS: A LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL editorial today reads, “Las Vegas Valley residents disappointed about losing to [DC] in the [Expos] relocation sweepstakes can look at the fleecing that awaits taxpayers in the nation’s capital and be grateful that [MLB] wanted no part of Southern Nevada” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 11/16). A WASHINGTON TIMES editorial on the rising cost of the ballpark states, “Since the mayor never broached the need for nearly half-billion-dollar community chest, which is filled with social-spending goodies for votes from recalcitrant council members, these bribes deserve to be added to the stadium’s costs. That brings the grand total to more than $1[B] and counting” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/16).
The Miller Park stadium district over the past four years has spent $15.7M on “litigation-related costs,” most notably the “dogfight against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America over construction of the ballpark’s roof,” according to a report cited by Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Through the end of the summer, the district had spent $14.1M on the Mitsubishi case alone. The net, out-of-pocket cost to the district for all of its legal issues was $711,642. Stadium district Exec Dir Mike Duckett writes in a report to be released today, “In order to fight a good fight, ... the district engaged the necessary team of engineers, scientists, experts, legal counselors and others to assure the district's interests will be properly protected." Walker notes the majority of overall costs “have been or will be reimbursed through court action and insurance.” Of the six lawsuits contested by the district, the potential liability once totaled nearly $104M. But “as a result of successful legal work,” the district now faces liability of about $34M, “all of which is tied to the Mitsubishi case” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/16).
Miller Park Stadium District Able To Reduce $70M In Liability
Construction has begun on the renovation of Dodger Stadium’s dugouts, dugout seats and Dugout Club. The $15M renovation will move the dugouts closer to the field and add about 1,600 seats. Also, an LED scoreboard will be installed (Dodgers).
DAPPER DON: ABC’s Rob Stone interviewed MLS Commissioner Don Garber during halftime of MLS Cup on Sunday. Stone asked Garber about the MetroStars’ stadium situation in Harrison, New Jersey, given recent overtures from New Jersey acting Gov. Richard Codey about building a stadium at the Meadowlands. Garber: “It’s better to have another option but we’re still very committed to Harrison” (“MLS Cup,” ABC, 11/14).
HORSE APIECE: In St. Petersburg, Lucy Morgan reports opponents of the slots legislation that passed on the November 4 ballot in South Florida “have gone to court to force a recount in Broward County.” When absentee ballots were “discovered, the amendment was losing by about 1,000 votes. Of the 78,000 absentee ballots, 94[%] favored the amendment, compared with 64[%] cast on Election Day.” The amendment allows slot machines at horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons in Broward and Miami-Dade counties (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/16).