SBD/January 20, 2011/Facilities

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  • L.A. City Leaders Show Early Support For AEG's Stadium Project

    Leiweke tells council that traffic in downtown L.A. would not be issue for events center

    The L.A. City Council met yesterday to "consider AEG's proposal for a new downtown NFL stadium," and city leaders "embraced the idea and moved to fast-track the project," according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Council member Janice Hahn, Chair of the Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee, "recommended a working group headed by the city's chief legislative analyst Gerry Miller to immediately begin studying financing, transportation and environmental issues connected to the project, while also pushing for an independent financial analysis." AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, meeting with the council for the first time about the project, "declined to say which NFL owners he regularly converses with and opted to avoid criticizing" Majestic Realty's rival stadium project in nearby City of Industry. Leiweke during the meeting said, "We'll be bringing a team to L.A." He said the NFL has "encouraged us to jump in, they believe this is the best location." A city official said that "local and state environmental impact reports could take up to a year to be completed." If AEG were to "get an environmental exemption, it still would have to complete an environmental impact report." The exemption would "protect AEG from subsequent lawsuits challenging the EIR." The stadium project requires city approval of $350M in bonds to demolish the L.A. Convention Center's West Hall. Leiweke reiterated that the bond "would be paid back with stadium ticket taxes," and that AEG "promised to make up any shortfall." He added, "There's zero risk to the general fund, no public dollars involved." But Majestic Realty VP John Semcken disputed Leiweke's assertion and said, "Saddling the city and the taxpayers ... should be a non-starter for the City Council." During yesterday's meeting, Leiweke also "downplayed L.A. traffic concerns" and noted that AEG "would fund rail upgrades to assist with stadium/convention center access" (L.A. TIMES, 1/20).

    STILL WORK TO DO: The AP's Jacob Adelman noted one "potential sticking point could arise from the fact that the city hasn't finished paying back the loan it took out to build the existing West Hall, the convention facility that would be demolished and relocated under AEG's plan." L.A. administrative analyst Jason Killeen said that L.A. city accountants are "working to calculate the debt, which must be paid off before the hall can be torn down, and to determine if that debt can be retired as part of a new bond issue" (AP, 1/19). Killeen indicated that the city "still owes $440 million on the Convention Center and he would not be able to recommend the football stadium deal until specific financial details are provided" (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 1/20). Hahn said, "I think the stars have to be aligned for AEG to make this happen. And I think the stars are the NFL, the stars are certainly the city, and the stars are whether or not we can get a team" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/20).

    WAITING IN THE WINGS? In California, Scott Bair writes yesterday's city council meeting offered an indication that L.A. officials "might support the project," and the Chargers have "long been considered leading contenders" to move from San Diego into the new stadium. Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani said, "We have already made a very public commitment that we will not be exercising the exit clause in our lease during 2011. We are going to honor that." The Chargers "can exercise that clause each year between Feb. 1 and May 1." Fabiani said, "We speak with AEG regularly -- on account of our other business relationships with AEG, which we have been very public about -- and we are well aware of their plans, but we have also made clear to the people of San Diego that we will not trigger our lease's exit clause in 2011." Meanwhile, Fabiani noted that the Chargers "have been unsuccessful in efforts to sell a portion of the 35 percent stake in the team held by Alex Spanos, the aging patriarch of the Spanos family." He said, "Some of the time pressure to do so has been relieved by the unexpected extension of the Bush tax cuts ... which means that the capital gains rate" remains at 15% (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 1/20).

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  • Cardinals Offer New Details Of Revamped Ballpark Village In St. Louis

    Ballpark Village will house 100,000 square feet of retail space, including Cardinals HOF

    Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III and Cordish Co. yesterday offered the first public details of their revamped Ballpark Village project, promising the "premier office building in the region," according to Tim Logan of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. In addition to the 12- or 13-story office complex near Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village will "house 100,000 square feet of retail space, including a Cardinal Nation-themed restaurant, Cardinals Hall of Fame, restored street grid and space for outdoor events." The buildings would "fill only two of the seven city blocks to be carved from the 10-acre site," while the rest would "become surface parking lots, saved for possible development in later project phases." The Cardinals are "only promising to build the first phase," and that likely "will mostly be filled by a company already downtown: Stifel Financial Corp." Stifel has "not confirmed that it will move to Ballpark Village," but the company has "long been linked to the project as both a financial partner and potential tenant." St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a supporter of the project, yesterday said it "will contribute to downtown's vitality." But Logan notes "some worry that the $155 million project, which would receive at least $57 million in public subsidies, might simply shuffle shoppers and workers around downtown and blow new holes in a still-fragile business district" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/20).

    Print | Tags: Facilities, St. Louis Cardinals
  • UNLV In Talks To Build Domed Stadium For Football, Other Events

    UNLV's football team would move from Sam Boyd Stadium to new venue

    UNLV officials are "in discussions to build a domed 40,000-seat stadium and entertainment complex on and around its campus while also upgrading the Thomas & Mack Center," according to Anderson & Choate of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. UNLV President Neal Smatresk in a statement yesterday said he has been in talks with Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski and Silverton Casino President Craig Cavileer, "a longtime business associate of Roski," to form a "public-private partnership." Cavileer "would not discuss details but said he and Roski may make a formal announcement by week's end." He added that the development "will be 'much more' than just a stadium." Smatresk said the school "long has been interested in bringing UNLV football to the main campus and in updating the Thomas & Mack Center." Smatresk: "This will allow us to build on our success, bring more visitors to Las Vegas, and retain the events that place the Thomas & Mack among the top grossing college arenas in the world." Where the new complex would be placed is "uncertain, though Smatresk said it would be convenient to the Strip and McCarran International Airport." A source said that "most of it is expected to be on UNLV property." Sources said that the talks "include building an indoor stadium similar in size to the Rebels' current football home at Sam Boyd Stadium." What would "become of Sam Boyd, built in 1971 as the Silver Bowl, is uncertain." Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said that a domed stadium "near campus would be good for fans, players and UNLV athletics." Anderson & Choate note the proposed stadium is "expected to house more than UNLV football." It also "could handle basketball games and special events such as the National Finals Rodeo ... and potential Pac-12 Conference Championship should Las Vegas ever be awarded that football game." Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said that he "didn't know if a stadium near UNLV would hurt his plan of having a pro hockey or basketball team in a downtown arena" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/20).

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  • Facility Notes

    Citizens Bank Park's new scoreboard will be the largest in the National League

    The Phillies are partnering with Sony Electronics' System Solutions Group and Daktronics for a $10M upgrade at Citizens Bank Park that includes the installation of a new HD video display that the team says will be the largest in the National League. The video board will measure 76 feet high and 97 feet wide, and total 7,372 square feet of digital space. The new display will be located under the Phillies sign in left field and will almost triple the size of the old video board. Construction has already begun with the removal of the original scoreboard, which has recently been relocated to the Phillies' Spring Training facility at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. (Phillies).

    GOING ONCE… Penguins co-Owner and Chair Mario Lemieux’s locker from when he was a player is “among more than 550 pieces of Civic Arena memorabilia up for sale in the two latest auctions being conducted by AssetNation.” Fans can also bid on lockers with autographed nameplates used by Penguins C Sidney Crosby and “other current Penguins, sections of the arena dasherboard and glass, parts of the locker room floor -- even the toilet" from Lemieux's Civic Arena suite. Bidding has started at iglooseats.com and “will run until the end of the month” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/20). Pittsburgh city officials “relented Wednesday on a plan to auction a plaque commemorating Elvis Presley’s three concerts” at Civic Arena after Elvis fans “complained” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/20).

    ON THE AGENDA: In Las Vegas, Cy Ryan noted “despite two pending lawsuits, a petition to build an 18,000-seat arena on the Las Vegas Strip will be one of the first things to come before” the Nevada state Legislature this year. The Legislature “has 40 days to act on the plan, which pits casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. on one side supporting the proposal against MGM Resorts International, which opposes it.” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday said that he “would veto the initiative in its present form because it contains a tax.” But he added that “there are ‘lots of things’ that could happen to the proposal” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/19).

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