SBD/May 1, 2013/Facilities

Winston-Salem Pol Says Sale Of City-Owned Basketball, Racing Venues Could Net $30M

While the "combined minimum asking price" for Winston-Salem's Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum and Bowman Gray Stadium stands at $15.1M, the sale of the venues would "eliminate operating deficits; avoid repairs, improvements and maintenance; and increase the city’s ability to borrow money," according to Bertrand Gutierrez of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL. Winston-Salem City Manager Lee Garrity said that the basketball venue to Wake Forest Univ. and the football stadium to Winston-Salem State Univ. "would be worth" about $30M over 20 years to the city. City budgets show that taxpayers "lose about $400,000 a year in operating deficits for the two facilities." Repairs, improvements and maintenance would cost about $11M -- $9.2M for the coliseum and $1.8M for the stadium. The "minimum asking price" for Joel Coliseum is $8M. The proposed sale "includes the parking lots and a commitment" by WFU to invest $10M in improvements. Key provisions of the proposed sale "include the coliseum’s availability for public events." Another key provision "would involve the Joel name." Officials said that it "would have a presence in the lobby and the plaza outside the coliseum." The minimum price for Bowman Gray is $7.1M, "including debt repayment for the field house." Officials said that key provisions "include the honoring of the existing lease with the race promoter, Winston-Salem Speedway Inc." Officials added that the Bowman Gray "name and presence would be maintained" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 4/30). In North Carolina, Amy Dominello Braun noted Winston-Salem residents "have been asking why the city wants to sell" the two facilities. Garrity said that the "answer is simple -- money." Both WFU and WSSU "now lease the stadiums from the city for their sports programs" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/30).
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