SBD/Issue 85/Facilities & Venues

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  • NBA, Maloofs Back Kings Arena Proposal Involving Land Swap

    Proposal To Build New Kings Arena,
    Entertainment Complex Unveiled Thursday
    The NBA Thursday said that it is "backing a dramatic land-swap proposal that would move the State Fair to the Arco Arena site" and build a new Kings arena and entertainment complex "next to the downtown train depot," according to Bizjak & Breton of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The proposal was unveiled Thursday night by Sacramento developer Gerry Kamilos, alongside "international financiers and NBA executives." The concept is the "most spectacular of seven arena concepts submitted in response to a request from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson." Details of the other submissions were unveiled Thursday night at City Hall, but NBA officials said that they and Kings owner the Maloofs support the land-swap concept "because it has what other proposals don't -- private investors willing to put up money." The Maloofs in a statement said, "We're committed to help any way we can." Baltimore-based Moag & Co. CEO John Moag, a consultant working for the NBA on the arena project, noted that the land-swap plan "has been in the works for nine months." Moag said that the Kings have agreed in concept to put $300M into the project in the form of a 30-year lease with $10M annual rent payments. Part of the Arco site is owned by the city, and part by the Kings, and Moag indicated that a $70M "loan the Kings owe the city would be retired in the deal." The arena would be "owned during that time by a private development group" including Kamilos, Sacramento developer David Taylor and "private cash partners." That group would "front the initial costs of an arena -- an undetermined amount -- with cash from the two key" supporters: Australia-based Macquarie Capital and California-based Pacific Coast Capital Partners. Johnson's arena task force is "expected to review the seven proposals and submit an arena concept to the mayor in March" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/15).

    OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW: In Sacramento, Kelly Johnson noted the NBA and Cal Expo, which would be sold and "used for new development" under the land-swap proposal, have been "negotiating for three years over a proposal to develop a sports and entertainment complex there as part of a larger plan to revitalize the state fairgrounds." Kamilos Thursday said that his group will "provide details of its financing plan in mid February." Moag said that the project would "probably require two years for entitlements," with the goal to "break ground in October 2012 or early 2013, and open in 2014." Moag noted that "until a sports and entertainment complex would be designed, it is impossible to estimate a price tag." He suggested that the "initial phase of an arena, parking garage and the payment to Cal Expo could run" around $675-700M (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/14). FANHOUSE.com's Tom Ziller wrote the NBA's "quick reversal on the Cal Expo project is surprising." The viability of the land-swap plan "depends on where the money comes from." Ziller noted "no one expects the Maloofs to contribute much, and public funding will likely be limited to land and tax breaks" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/14).

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  • Nostalgia Unlikely To Save Pens' Mellon Arena From Demolition

    Penguins President Says Mellon Arena
    Has Outlived Its Usefulness
    Nostalgia for Mellon Arena is "running high in its final season," but Penguins President David Morehouse said that "fond memories are no reason to spare Mellon Arena from demolition once" Consol Energy Center is completed in time for the '10-11 NHL season, according to Jeremy Boren of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Morehouse: "It's not that we're not nostalgic about the arena, it's just that it has outlived its usefulness. The memories will last forever, but the arena shouldn't." Some critics have said that the Penguins "backed away from creating merchandise and other reminders of its final season, such as a patch for players' uniforms," but Morehouse said that the team is "planning a farewell celebration that will feature appearances by yet-to-be-named former players, a commemorative book and, possibly, a final concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra." Morehouse added during Penguins home games this season, the arena's big screens show video clips dubbed "Mellon Arena Memories." Boren notes in December, the Penguins "sent metal Christmas ornaments stamped with 'Mellon Arena' and 'Final Season' around an image of the arena with Downtown buildings in the background," and the ornaments are a "top seller on the team Web site at $19.99 a piece." Meanwhile, a Facebook group created by Pittsburgh-based architect Rob Pfaffmann "has amassed nearly 3,000 'fans' under the banner of 'Reuse the Igloo." The Penguins began play at the arena in '67, and Pennsylvania state Sen. Wayne Fontana said that the team and the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the arena owner, are "trying to appear to have an 'open mind' about preserving the arena, but it may be too late" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/15).

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  • Facility Notes

    USA World Cup Bid Committee Exec Dir David Downs said that Chicago did not make the list of 18 potential host cities for the '18 or 22 event because the city "balked at making financial guarantees that could have cost taxpayers" about $10M. Chicago was on the list of 27 U.S. finalists announced in August, but Downs said that Chicago Park District officials told the bid committee in "late December that they did not want Soldier Field ... to be part of their effort." In N.Y., Dan Mihalopoulos notes Soldier Field was "widely considered a shoo-in to host" games should the tournament be held in the U.S. (N.Y. TIMES, 1/15).

    Twins Will Provide Fans With Wide Variety Of
    Food Options When Target Field Opens April 12
    ON THE MENU: MLB.com's Kelly Thesier noted the Twins will "provide fans with a wide variety of food options" when Target Field opens on April 12. The food choices at the new ballpark "will range from the classic ballpark fare of hot dogs and peanuts to Minnesota-inspired signature items such as the steak sandwich from famed Murray's steakhouse." Among other new offerings "will be a stand called 'State Fair Classics,' featuring walleye-on-a-stick and cheese curds, and two full-service restaurants where fans can dine while at the ballpark." There will be "nine different themes for the permanent concession stands at Target Field, three of which pay tribute to Twins greats" (MLB.com, 1/14).

    ONE, TWO PUNCH: In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway writes to call Cowboys Stadium "a 'success' seriously limits the impact." Since its grand opening in June, "nothing in sports, or beyond, has had this kind of $1.2[B] immediate wow factor." The "latest and newest addition to the Arlington lineup came this week," when it was announced that the facility will host the March 13 Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey bout. Top Rank Chair Bob Arum told Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones the stadium will "take boxing to a place it's never been" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/15).

    BLOW OUT SALE: In New Jersey, John Brennan reports the Giants and Jets have hired memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner to "direct memorabilia sales" from Giants Stadium. The teams are "attempting to recoup much or all of demolition costs." New Meadowlands Stadium Co. President & CEO Mark Lamping indicated that tearing down Giants Stadium "could cost nearly as much as the $17[M] tab for eradicating" Shea Stadium (Bergen RECORD, 1/15).

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