SBD/Issue 87/Facilities & Venues

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  • Proposed MLS Wizards Stadium Could Earn Final Approval Today

    Proposed $414M Development Would Include
    18,000-Seat Stadium For MLS Wizards
    Wyandotte County (KS) commissioners today will meet to "consider and possibly approve" an agreement for a $414M development that would bring a new MLS Wizards stadium to the area, according to a front-page piece by Kevin Collison of the K.C. STAR. The project, developed by Wizards Owner OnGoal LLC and Lane4 Property Group, calls for an 18,000-seat stadium "to be completed by the 2012 soccer season." The agreement culminates more than "four months of negotiations among the developer, the state of Kansas and Wyandotte County." In addition to the soccer stadium and an office complex for Cerner Corp., the development calls for "construction of an 18-field youth soccer complex capable of hosting national soccer tournaments." The project is being subsidized with $85M in state tax credits and cash, and $144.5M in STAR bonds. Those bonds would be "repaid from sales tax revenues generated by the merchants at the Village West development, the site of the proposed stadium." County officials indicated that "at that rate, the STAR bonds originally issued for Village West would be repaid in 2014." Cerner as part of the deal has agreed to bring 4,000 new jobs to the county, but if the company "fails to fulfill its job obligation," a $30.4M penalty "must be paid by Kansas Unified Development, the development entity formed by OnGoal and Lane4 for the project" (K.C. STAR, 1/19).

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  • Melbourne Park To Add Third Retractable Roof In Renovation

    Retractable Roof To Be Built On Margaret Court
    As Part Of Melbourne Park's $333M Renovation
    Melbourne Park will get a "third weather-proof stadium under a multi-million [dollar] plan to ensure the Australian Open is retained after 2016," according to Robyn Grace of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Victoria Premier John Brumby this morning announced the US$333M redevelopment, which will see a "major facelift to the Margaret Court arena, which will include installation of a retractable roof and will boost capacity by 1500 to 7500." The publicly-funded renovation "will also see improvements to Rod Laver and Hisense arenas." Brumby: "This secures the Open here for decades to come" (SMH.com.au, 1/19). The PA notes 26 matches were "postponed on Monday as the weather wreaked havoc on the outside courts" at the Australian Open. Meanwhile, the "future of Melbourne as the home of the Australian Open has come under threat in recent years, with China in particular lobbying to host the grand slam of Asia/Pacific after the current contract expires in six years" (PA, 1/19). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Riseborough & Baynes note adding a roof to Margaret Court Arena, the venue's "third-largest showcourt," will give tournament organizers the "option of three undercover courts." Brumby indicated that work on the expansion "will begin after this year's tournament, which finishes Jan. 31," and the "first stage of the project is scheduled for completion in time for the 2015 edition." The Australian Open attracts "more than 600,000 spectators" annually to Melbourne, but Shanghai, Dubai and Sydney "have been linked in media reports with bids for the tournament" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/19). In Australia, Courtney Walsh notes the "potential threat posed by the growth of tennis in Asia was a motivating factor" in announcing the renovations (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/20). Brumby said, "Had we not made this investment ... we could have kept it (the Open), we could have lost it. That's the reality" (Melbourne AGE, 1/20). 

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  • Target Field Menu To Feature Food Options Unique To Minnesota

    Food, Drink At Target Field Will Specifically
    Cater To Minnesota Public's Taste
    Twins concessionaire Delaware North Sportservice is "putting the finishing touches on the menus" for Target Field's "28 concession stands and two restaurants in hopes of catering to the Minnesota palate," according to Mary Lynn Smith of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The ballpark's food options will include pork chops on a stick, walleye on a stick, cheese curds, and wild rice soup. Yet to be decided is whether the Dome Dog "will make a comeback at the new park," as Target Field GM of Food Services Pete Spike said that putting the item on the Twins menu "isn't a done deal." Spike added that pricing "hasn't been decided." But food service execs, "mindful of the economy's pinch on people's pocketbooks, say they don't want fans choking over food ticket prices." Meanwhile, in a "further effort to connect with fans, food and drink will be sold at concession stands and restaurants with names that speak of local fare and local sports heroes." In addition, Spike and Target Field Exec Chef Pastor Jimenez said that fans also "can see the food being grilled as they stroll the concourses." Spike: "That's different than many ballparks" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/19).

    FINANCIAL RAMIFICATIONS: Twins Sports Inc. President Jerry Bell said Target Field's ability to return the public money put into it with taxes and/or economic benefits "depends on the economy." Bell: "Does the real estate value around the ballpark go up and if it goes up, does it contribute to construction and further development and what kind of real estate taxes does that produce? If all of those things come together over a long period of time, maybe. It’s hard to say." When asked if publicly-funded ballparks "make sense on the economic argument alone, meaning that they create new taxes and jobs," Bell said, "It depends on your alternative for investment. My view is that is does have an economic impact in a targeted sense. It benefits this neighborhood. Does that make a ripple effect in the state economy? Probably not." But Bell added, "Ten years from now, maybe less, no one will know what this ballpark cost and they won’t care. They’ll either like it and they’ll enjoy coming here or they won’t, and they’ll judge it on that." Meanwhile, Bell said the "private side will have to increase some" in building future ballparks due to the economy. Bell: "I don't know what the right amount is and it depends" (WSJ.com, 1/15).

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  • Red Sox Seeking Approval To Open Souvenir Shop Outside Fenway

    Red Sox officials are "seeking approval for a retail shop opening onto Van Ness Street near" Fenway Park, according to documents filed with the Boston Landmarks Commission cited by Thomas Grillo of the BOSTON HERALD. The $750,000 project "would put the store under the grandstand and convert three existing garage doors in the exterior brick facade into a street entrance and display windows." The store "would bring increased competition to the four independent souvenir shops around Fenway owned" by Massachusetts-based retailer Twins '47. The Boston Landmarks Commission "will review the proposal Jan. 26" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/19).

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  • Facility Notes

    In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported it is "beginning to look like" Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf "could have the framework of a new stadium deal -- probably in a suburb and perhaps open-air -- early next year." It "won't be surprising" if the town of Blaine "re-enters the picture" as a possible stadium site (TWINCITIES.com, 1/18).

    STRUCK BY LIGHTNING: In San Diego, Matthew Hall reports the Chargers and San Diego officials claim that the team's playoff loss "won't slow efforts to build a new stadium," but fans called Sunday's loss a "speed bump on the drive to build a downtown stadium with hundreds of millions of public dollars." A 15- to 18-month process of "obtaining approvals to pump future property taxes into a stadium site in a downtown redevelopment zone is under way." Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani said that the timetable turns the "2011 season and perhaps part of the 2012 season into the ones that will be most influential on the public vote," and noted that the "vote likely would be decided by people who aren’t football fans" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/19).

    Rizzo Says K.C. Proposal To Cut Deeper Into
    City's Subsidy Of Sports Complex "Shortsighted"
    WEIGHT WATCHERS: Jackson County (MO) Legislature Chair Henry Rizzo yesterday said that a proposal from K.C. to "cut deeper into the city’s subsidy of the Truman Sports Complex is shortsighted." Rizzo said the stadiums are a "proven revenue enhancement, not detraction." Interim K.C. City Manager Troy Schulte's budget proposal released Friday included a plan to "trim the amount budgeted to send to Jackson County for maintenance of the stadium complex by $170,000," on top of "$300,000 that was cut last year" (K.C. STAR, 1/19).

    IN FOR A TUNE-UP: Charlotte Motor Speedway is installing approximately 15,000 new premium seats along the frontstretch. CMS also is removing several narrow seats in the grandstands and replacing them with 21-inch seats (CMS). In Charlotte, Jim Utter notes "any fan who purchases the same seats to all three Cup series events at the track this season will receive a personalized, bronze nameplate on the new seat and will be able to take home one of the historic seats as a keepsake" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/19).

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