SBD/October 11, 2012/Facilities

Steelers Trying To Close On Deal To Add 3,000 Seats To Heinz Field

A parking surcharge is one of the issues in negotiations to upgrade Heinz Field
The Steelers said that a project aimed at adding 3,000 seats to Heinz Field next year "could be in jeopardy if a plan to pay for the construction isn't finalized by the end of the month," according to a front-page piece by Mark Belko of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Steelers Dir of Strategic Planning & Development Mark Hart yesterday said that the project "could be delayed until 2014 or killed entirely if the city-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority isn't able to complete the deal in short order." Hart said that despite months of negotiations, the SEA still has not "been able to finalize the details of the plan to finance construction," estimated at $38-39M, or resolve bond underwriting issues. Belko notes last month, the team and local political leaders "negotiated the framework of a deal to help pay for the construction that involved a $1 increase in an existing surcharge on Steelers tickets and a new parking surcharge of $2 to $3 at lots around Heinz Field during home games." Alco Parking Corp. President Merrill Stabile, whose company manages most of the lots around the stadium, is "complicating the completion of the deal" by "objecting to the parking surcharge." Hart said that even if details are finalized by October, the team "probably won't be able to have the new seats, to be built in the south end zone, in place until mid- to late September." Hart added that that would mean "missing the preseason and perhaps some regular season games." Hart also said that a delay beyond '13 could "kill the project altogether, given the economic uncertainties and the potential for increased cost." Under the team's lease at Heinz Field, the SEA is "required to pay two-thirds of the cost for a 'designated expansion' involving no more than 10,000 seats in the south end zone." The team is "responsible for the other third" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/11). 
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