SBD/Issue 192/Facilities & Venues

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  • Red Wings Face Deadline To Extend Lease Or Find New Arena

    Red Wings Must Decide By Tuesday Whether
    To Leave Joe Louis Arena Or Extend Lease
    The Red Wings by Tuesday must decide "whether they'll leave Joe Louis Arena or extend by 20 years a lease that's helped make the team one of the richest in the league," according to David Josar of the DETROIT NEWS. Negotiations between city officials and Red Wings Owners the Ilitch family have been "ongoing for several years," but neither side will divulge details of the talks. Wayne County Exec Robert Ficano confirmed that the county, which had a "hand in putting together deals to build Ford Field and Comerica Park, has been approached about financing assistance," which could be an indication that the Ilitch family "may consider a new facility." Speculation about whether the Red Wings will move has "intensified recently as the Ilitch family has accumulated land behind their Fox Theatre they are using for parking lots." Josar notes the Red Wings "enjoy what is considered the best lease arrangement of any NHL team," as Olympia Entertainment leases Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Arena and an "adjacent parking structure for $475,000 a year, while the city tosses in free police protection, landscaping and snow removal." The lease, signed in '78, has been "criticized by several council members for being too generous to owners." Joe Louis Arena "does not have the revenue-generating features of the new 'mega-arenas,' but the sagging economy makes it difficult to secure financing for a new home for the Red Wings." DC-based facility planning firm Brailsford & Dunlavey Senior Project Manager Jason Thompson: "This really comes down to money -- where the team can get the most revenue and the best price." If the Red Wings extend their lease, the city of Detroit could "no longer tack on" up to a 10% surcharge on tickets to events at the arena that accounted for $3M in revenue last year. Also, the city would "no longer get a cut of concessions and suite rentals," while Olympia Entertainment would lose up to $1M annually in tax breaks (DETROIT NEWS, 6/24).

    ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: In Michigan, George James Malik writes the "bottom line remains a monetary one," as Joe Louis Arena "remains a bare-bones arena in comparison to modern, amenity-rich rinks." The problem here is that the "economic bottoming-out which Metro Detroit has experienced leaves a very, very uncertain financial forecast for the region." If the Red Wings built a new arena with "luxury options galore, does that make sense if Michigan loses a million or more residents over the next ten years?" (MLIVE.com, 6/24).

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  • Facility Notes

    Oklahoma City Officials Reassessing Ongoing
    $100M Renovation Of Ford Center
    The AP's Jeff Latzke reported Oklahoma City officials are "reassessing an ongoing $100[M] renovation of Ford Center because a sales tax that was supposed to fund it" has produced $4.2M "below projections." A City Council report yesterday indicated that the $0.01 sales tax increase, "approved by voters as a way to lure" the Seattle Sonics to town, has yielded $29.8M so far, 12.6% less than the $34M projected. Latzke noted if the gap between the "expected cost and incoming revenue doesn't improve, the city can start trimming projects or seek new modes of funding, such as tapping into a use tax fund" of $3.1M (AP, 6/23).

    NOT CLOSER BY COMMITTEE: In San Diego, Tanya Sierra reports Chula Vista, California, has "put the brakes on a council committee that has been talking with the San Diego Chargers about building a stadium" in the city. Council members last night "decided future plans from the Chargers can go straight to the full council." Council member Pamela Bensoussan: "If we keep a committee just to keep a myth alive, that really serves no purpose. It sends a message we're doing something when actually we're not." Sierra notes while suspending the committee "won't necessarily kill the stadium proposal, it's the latest development that diminishes the prospect of the Chargers moving to Chula Vista" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/24).

    DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: In Milwaukee, Don Walker reported Miller Park concessionaire Sportservice had to "throw out plenty of food because of the flood waters that inundated the stadium's service level late last week." Sportservice GM Tom Olson yesterday said that he had "not yet compiled a dollar estimate of damage," but that a damage claim "would be made to Sportservice's insurance company." Meanwhile, the Brewers also are "assessing the amount of damage ... in the service level." The team's indoor batting cages are "out of commission for now, and the carpeting in both clubhouses had to be removed." Walker noted the floodwaters at the ballpark also "damaged or destroyed public records kept by the Miller Park Stadium District in a storage area" (JSONLINE.com, 6/23).

    NEW RULES: In Dallas, Jeff Mosier reports private property owners must now register with the city of Arlington and "pay to get a piece of the parking action at Cowboys Stadium," as a new ordinance "sets fees as well as restrictions on where and how parking lots can operation in Arlington's entertainment district." City officials said that the ordinance "should protect neighborhoods from illegal parking, prevent traffic backups getting into lots and help crack down on scam artists" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/24).

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