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Seattle property owners “would pay an additional $2 to $3 a year in property taxes for the new sports arena proposed for Sodo, because as a publicly owned facility the site would be removed from the property-tax rolls,” according to Lynn Thompson of the SEATTLE TIMES. Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess said, "It's not true that this is not costing the taxpayers of the city anything." Deputy Budget Dir Hall Walker said that “additional arena revenue, such as sales and admissions taxes, might return benefits to the city in the form of more money for schools, criminal justice, mental health, emergency-medical services and other programs funded in part through sales taxes.” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and arena investor Chris Hansen “have described the deal as ‘self-financing’ and requiring no new taxes.” The hit to city taxpayers was “just one concern council members raised about the proposed agreement.” Thompson notes because the city and county “plan to buy the building, the arena owners wouldn't pay property taxes, and city homeowners would have to make up the difference.” Council member Sally Bagshaw said that she “didn't understand why the city and the county planned to buy the land from Hansen for up to $100 million, when Hansen has paid about $40 million to acquire it.” Bagshaw: "It's a good deal for him. I'm not sure it's a good deal for us." Council members said that they “won't make a decision until Hansen reveals the other members of his investment group and the city has a chance to vet their financial strength.” A spokesperson for Hansen "wouldn't say" when the names of the other investors might be made public (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/7).
WEIGHING IN: The Municipal League of King County yesterday said that Hansen's arena proposal “may well be the best deal that city and county officials will ever receive for bringing professional basketball back to Seattle.” The League released a six-page analysis of Hansen’s proposal and said the deal is "not risk-free and may not be self-financing as claimed by proponents." In Seattle, Bob Young notes although the group said that Hansen's proposal was “complex, impressive and delightful to those who still mourn the loss of the Sonics, the League nevertheless raises several concerns.” Chief among them is whether the proposal will “protect existing tax revenues that go to the city and county general funds, which pay for basic services such as law enforcement and road maintenance” (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/7).
PROJECT PROPOSAL: In Seattle, Eric Pryne reported two of the Sodo neighborhood's “biggest developers are teaming up to build the second phase of Stadium Place, the ambitious high-rise project in CenturyLink Field's north parking lot, and plan to break ground in summer 2013.” The project would include “a 23-story hotel rising from a full-block base that would have 16,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a 376-stall garage and a health club.” A 170,000-square-foot office tower “would be added later.” Daniels Real Estate President Kevin Daniels, one of the developers behind the proposal, as well as King County and the owners of the Seahawks and CenturyLink Field “worked out a deal last year to replace the 491 parking spaces displaced by Stadium Place with dedicated stalls in a Metro garage” (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/6).
Rose Bowl and Pasadena city officials yesterday said that stadium renovation plans are “now facing a funding gap" of about $35M, up from $20.7M in December.” In California, Brenda Gazzar noted the “estimated project cost is now" $175M, which is about $23M over the stadium's initial estimate and nearly $15M more than projected late last year. The primary reason for the projected cost increase “is related to the latest estimate for the third and final phase of the renovation.” Officials said that the initial estimate of $25.8M “based on schematic design drawings was recently revised" to $36.9M as more detailed information became available (PASADENASTARNEWS.com, 6/6).
MAKING PROMISES: In New Orleans, Bruce Eggler writes a public forum last night on Tulane Univ.'s plans for a new on-campus football stadium “did not necessarily convert any stadium opponents to supporters,” but it did "appear to ease a few of the critics' concerns, at least regarding how the facility would be used.” Tulane officials promised that the stadium "should never be the site of more than one game a week,” and that the venue "would never be rented for rock or other music concerts, though they left the door open for university-sponsored music events.” Officials also “promised it would offer no ‘monster truck’ shows, circuses, rodeos or commercial expositions, such as boat or auto shows.” However, they offered “no cap on the total number of events that might take place in a month or year” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/7).
CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC: In Chicago, Danny Ecker wrote a five-month shutdown of the Chicago Transit Authority Red Line from the Cermark-Chinatown stop to 95th Street next summer “looks like it’ll hurt” the White Sox. Team VP/Communications Scott Reifert said that roughly 16% of attendees, or about 4,000 fans, “roll up on the Red Line.” The closure “will create logjams on the alternative routes to U.S. Cellular Field.” But for a team “scrapping to give fans a reason to show up early, stay late and enjoy amenities in and around the stadium, waiting out hordes of sweaty fans packing into train cars and buses after a game may be an effective, albeit artificial, solution.” It would be a "nice boost" for White Sox VP & CMO Brooks Boyer, who is "doing what he can to 'add value' to the game-day experience with little ammunition compared with the vibrant bar scene of Wrigleyville" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 6/6).
THAT'S (4)G: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Samantha Pearson reports Soros Fund Management Chair George Soros' investment fund is "one of six groups bidding for Brazil's new 4G telecom licenses as "the country races to improve its infrastructure" before hosting the '14 World Cup and '16 Olympics. Industry regulator Anatel said that Vivo, Oi, Sky and Soros Fund Management's Sunrise Telecomunicacoes "will submitt proposals for the so-called 4G licenses" at an auction next Tuesday, which is "is expected to raise at least [US$1.96B]." The winner of the bid will "have to make 4G networks available in all the cities" hosting FIFA's Confederations Cup in April '13 and by Dec. '14 for the World Cup's host cities (FINANCIALTIMES.com, 6/6).