SBD/January 27, 2011/Facilities

Lightning Eye Tourist Taxes To Repay St. Pete Times Forum Renovation Costs

Part of the proposed $40M renovations include adding an old-fashioned pipe organ
The Lightning plan to announce roughly $40M in renovations to St. Pete Times Forum, and the team's owners "want to get reimbursed for much of the work with tourist taxes," according to Bill Varian of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. Hillsborough County Finance Dir Tim Simon and Administrator Mike Merrill stressed that “any reimbursement would be for work that maintains or improves" the county-owned arena's condition and "extends its life." Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan noted that the Lightning are “planning to announce the renovations before any deal has been reached on subsidies.” The team hopes the renovations will “significantly improve the hockey game and concert-going experience.” The plan is “expected to underscore a renewed commitment to the area since a new ownership group led by hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik took over early last year.” Renovations planned for this summer include “replacing all of the seats within the arena with new blue ones to match the team's new colors.” The team also will replace "some or all of the existing heating, air conditioning and ventilation system to address" moisture issues. Other projects include "repainting the walls, resurfacing concourse floors and adding an old-fashioned pipe organ." The team also plans on “adding a central food and beverage, party-deck-type area on the upper level in an area that is largely unused.” That area will “provide new vending options in the upper, or terrace, level.” Team officials “hope that will ease congestion on lower concourses that they have long said are too narrow” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/27).
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