SBD/June 15, 2011/Facilities

NHL Facility Notes: Ilitches Discussing Short-Term Joe Louis Lease

Red Wings' lease agreement at Joe Louis Arena expired last year

In Detroit, Bill Shea notes it has been two years since Red Wings Owner the Ilitch family "declined to renew" the team's lease at city-owned Joe Louis Arena and a year since that lease expired, but "no new agreement is believed to be near." The team "has operated under undisclosed terms at the venue while the Ilitches continue to both negotiate a new lease and advance plans to build a modern arena elsewhere in the city." Neither the Ilitches nor the city will talk about the lease situation, "citing a confidentiality agreement." The old Joe Louis lease "would have automatically renewed for 20 years." It is "believed the Ilitches want a shorter deal" that would allow the team an "easy exit so it can move to a new, modern arena" (CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS, 6/13 issue).
IN NEED OF A BAIL OUT: In Toronto, Paul Moloney reported the city is "looking at taking over the debt-plagued Lakeshore Lions Arena, also known as the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence, where the Toronto Maple Leafs train." The city "would assume responsibility for repaying about [C$40M] borrowed to build" the arena, which is operated by the Lakeshore Lions Club. The facility since opening in September '09 has been making about C$1.6M a year with the "major tenant" being the Maple Leafs and AHL Marlies. There also is "500 hours a year of no-charge ice time allocated to the public school board, which owns the land" (TORONTO STAR, 6/14). Toronto Mayor Rob Ford yesterday said that "he's 'furious' the city will have to bail out" the arena. When asked if the Maple Leafs should be paying more toward the venue, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said the team is "paying plenty now" (TORONTO SUN, 6/15).

WEEDS IN THE GARDEN: The GLOBE & MAIL's Matthew Sekeres wrote TD Garden "is a dump." Sekeres: "On the outside, it is a monstrosity, an eyesore in an otherwise charming city. ... On the inside, it is so inefficient you wonder if a single engineer was consulted before its construction." The visitors' locker room is "smaller than the rooms at your local rink, and the Bruins dressing room is smaller than the visitors' dressing room at Rogers Arena." Sekeres: "All in all, a horrible place to work, and given how miserably they failed on this building, they might as well have just kept the old Garden" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/15). 

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