SBD/Issue 167/Facilities & Venues

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  • Qualcomm Stadium Audit Shows San Diego Is Losing $12M A Year

    Audit Shows City Of San Diego Losing
    More Than $12M Annually On Qualcomm Stadium
    A recent audit of Qualcomm Stadium "not only showed that the city is losing more than $12[M] a year on its operations but pointed to deeper red ink ahead if the Chargers bolt after the 2010 season," according to Ronald Powell of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. If the Chargers leave after the '10 season, the city "would be left with debt of more than $27[M] for stadium renovations made in 1998, no professional football team and an aging facility." The report by the San Diego Auditor's Office was released this month and is "scheduled to be heard by the city's Audit Committee on June 1, at which recommendations -- including creation of a business plan for the stadium -- will be discussed." San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and other officials have been "content to watch the Chargers focus on getting a new stadium in Chula Vista for the past 18 months." Although progress "there is stalled," the Chargers said that they "remain interested." If the team moves to another location, the city "would be able to take control of the 166-acre Mission Valley property and possibly make millions by selling it, leasing it or developing it." As part of its exit agreement with the city, the Chargers "must pay off all remaining debt from the 1998 renovations if the team leaves after this season or next season." That amount is currently $56.2M. After the '10 season, the team "could leave by paying $25.8[M], and the city would be responsible for the remaining $27.1[M]." Audit Committee Chair Kevin Faulconer said talks on the stadium's future should "begin now rather than a couple of years from now." Powell notes to operate Qualcomm Stadium, the city has "spent millions more than what the 42-year-old facility generates in revenue." City officials said that the city has been "trying to attract more revenue-generating events to the stadium -- from concerts, to Supercross to tractor pulls -- but those efforts have lagged in the hard-hit economy" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/18).

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  • Renaissance Hotel Set To Open At Patriot Place Development

    Renaissance Hotel & Spa At Patriot
    Place To Officially Open Today In Foxborough
    The Renaissance Boston Hotel & Spa "plans to open" today at Patriot Place, across from Gillette Stadium, according to Katie Johnston Chase of the BOSTON GLOBE. Despite the economy, the owners of the 150-room hotel with prices "ranging from $189 to $1,000 a night," are "confident that the five-story hotel will do just fine." Renaissance Boston Hotel & Spa co-Owner Mark Stebbins said that the deal with Kraft Group, which owns the Patriots and Patriot Place, "includes a provision to add 100 more rooms." The Renaissance, a Marriott Int'l Inc. hotel, is "trying to position itself as the only upscale hotel between Boston and Providence." Patriots President Jonathan Kraft: "From the split in Braintree down to Providence, there is no high-quality, full-service hotel."  The hotel's "dominant color, red, was taken from the Patriots colors." The hotel's "first test" for success will be this weekend, when Gillette Stadium hosts the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse championships. Hotel officials indicated there are "already some high-profile guests with reservations," as singer Elton John's "setup team has booked the Renaissance for his July concert with Billy Joel." But there is "at least one group that won't be staying in the hotel: NFL teams, which require more meeting space than the hotel has" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/16).

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  • Roof On Wimbledon's Centre Court Makes Successful Debut

    All England Club Debuts New Retractable
    Roof This Weekend During Exhibition
    The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club yesterday debuted the new retractable roof on Centre Court during an exhibition doubles match featuring Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf against Tim Henman and Kim Clijsters. All England Club CEO Ian Ritchie said the planning process for the roof took several years and the construction itself took over three years. Ritchie: “You’re taking a 1922 building and refurbishing it from the foundations right up to the roof, but hopefully trying to keep the feeling of the Centre Court as well as modernizing it.” Ritchie added that night matches will not be played at Wimbledon because “we see this as an outdoor summer tournament and the roof is an insurance, so we still want to play with the roof open.” The BBC’s Sue Barker: “This is the first time that tennis is going to be played on the court with the roof closed in front of a full house. So, it is going to be a big test just to see how the court fairs under these new conditions.” Just prior to the opening match, Barker said, “I think everyone wondered what (the roof) would look like. Well, it looks magnificent” (“Wimbledon: A Centre Court Celebration,” ESPN Classic, 5/17). In London, Neil Harman reports the roof took seven minutes and four seconds to close, and “when the two sides of the structure eventually touched, a spontaneous round of applause burst out” (LONDON TIMES, 5/18). Agassi said, “It sure has lived up to the beauty that has existed here for a long time. It’s an exciting change, it’s an addition for the payers and the fans” (REUTERS, 5/17). ESPN’s David Lloyd said, “It almost looks sunnier there with the roof closed than it does normally” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/17).

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  • Facility Notes

    In Minneapolis, Patrice Relerford noted the Twins Friday announced $13M in additional enhancements to their new Target Field, which is slated to open next season. The team "will pay for the new features," which include rooftop seating and heat in the main concourse. The new spending plan approved by the Minnesota Ballpark Authority board, which will own and operate the $545M facility, "includes more bathrooms and [retail] spaces, a larger [HD] scoreboard and a roof deck for fans." The new scoreboard "will include a video screen that is reportedly nine times larger than those used in the Metrodome" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/16).

    Architect Says Pauley Pavilion Renovation
    Plan Suffers From "Potential Fatal Flaws"
    DESIGN FLAWS? Architect Michael Hallmark said the $185M renovation plan of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion suffers from "potential fatal flaws." Hallmark, who "paired with another firm" in a losing bid to vie for the Pauley Pavilion renovation, "suggests that the concourses are too narrow and that, by reducing the overall number of vertical aisles," NBBJ, the firm selected to oversee the renovation, is "making the rows in some sections too long." In L.A., David Wharton noted Hallmark "wants UCLA to convene a peer review of independent experts to revisit these and other issues." But UCLA Vice Chancellor/Finance, Budget & Capital Programs Steven Olsen said, "I feel confident that we've done a good job of addressing the issues that can be addressed." More Olsen: "We want to get going on this as soon as possible. Certainly there are going to be strong emotions about a project like this no matter which direction it takes" (L.A. TIMES, 5/17).

    SHOWSTOPPERS: In New Jersey, Mike Kerwick wrote, "Not counting double-bills or multi-act festivals, only 29 different artists have headlined shows at Giants Stadium." U2 will play its fourth show at the stadium this September, while AC/DC "will make its stadium debut there on July 31." NJSEA Exec VP/Facilities Jim Minish: "Madonna, if she elected to do a stadium show again (could do it). If (Eric) Clapton wanted to, he could probably do it." Minish said that putting a stadium show together "usually costs four or five times more than what it takes to do an arena show" (Bergen RECORD, 5/17).

    GRASS IS GREENER: In Toronto, Gareth Wheeler writes "political red-tape and nonsensical excuses have stood in the way of getting grass" at BMO Field, which currently has Field Turf. The "hope that common sense will prevail is a pipe-dream, with the decision-makers playing politics instead of acting for the greater good." It is "sad we'll see stadium expansion ... before we see the one thing that can actually make the product on the field better." That is because a grass field "costs money," while "more seats equal money" (TORONTO SUN, 5/18).

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