SBD/Issue 222/Facilities & Venues

Steelers Gain Land Near Heinz Field; Hotel, Venue Planned

Steelers Gain Land Near Heinz
Field For Entertainment Development
The Steelers "won the right Wednesday to buy two prime spots on the North Shore despite objections from North Siders," according to Jeremy Boren of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Stadium Authority twice voted 3-1 to sell its land near PNC Park and Heinz Field to the team, which "plans to turn one plot into a Hyatt Place hotel and the other into a $10[M], 2,600-seat entertainment venue." For the hotel, the Steelers will pay the Authority "$1.32[M] for 3.5 acres of land near PNC Park." Construction on the 178-room Hyatt Place "must begin by the end of the year" and the Steelers "must also give the authority $668,000 in parking revenues." Meanwhile, a "separate, 3.9-acre parcel known as 'Lot 6' will be sold to the Steelers for $1.38[M]." The deal "requires the team to use the site as some type of entertainment venue for at least 10 years, and prohibits it from being sold for the same span of time." If the terms of the sales are violated, the land "automatically reverts back to the Stadium Authority's control" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 8/7). An appraiser hired by the Stadium Authority estimated the value of the North Shore land, "given its intended use and expected revenues, at $1.1[M], slightly less than the sales price." Stadium Authority Chair Debbie Liestitian, the lone dissenter on the votes, said, "Pittsburgh's a distressed city and we're giving away our prime riverfront property" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/7).

MONEY MAN: A source said that Pittsburgh-based Duquesne Capital Management Chair Stanley Druckenmiller "remains optimistic a deal will be worked out where he will gain majority stock control of the Steelers' franchise." The source added that Druckenmiller is "eager and ready to proceed with a purchase plan that is 'simple and uncomplicated' and would greatly benefit the long-term financial health of the franchise." The source added that the plan is "uncomplicated" because Druckenmiller "would buy out the four Rooney brothers in a straight cash deal that would be paid immediately and not over any period of time." The source said that the deal "would allow the Steelers -- if Druckenmiller becomes majority stock owner -- to operate without any debt or interest payments and enable the team to spend the necessary money to remain competitive in the NFL" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/7).

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