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SBD/October 24, 2013/FacilitiesPrint All
One week before Mortenson Construction is scheduled to lock in its guaranteed maximum price for building the new Vikings stadium, the project faces a new issue tied to the facility’s hard construction costs. Industry sources say Mortenson, the project’s general contractor, is struggling to meet a hard budget of $737M, the number approved by project officials on Oct. 4 as part of the Vikings’ stadium use and development agreement. Four days later on Oct. 8, sources said, Mortenson provided the Vikings with new numbers showing them hard costs had increased by $45M to a total of $782M, a major swing in price after months of negotiations. Mortensen Senior VP John Wood wrote in an e-mail, “We have not yet completed the estimating process to arrive at a GMP and it would therefore be inappropriate for me to discuss this subject.” Sources said the new set of numbers has alarmed the Vikings to the point that they have had private conversations with a separate contractor to find out what their options are. Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that he could not confirm hard costs were running $45M over budget or that the team has contacted other builders about reviewing Mortenson’s estimates. Bagley said, “It is crucial we bring this project in on budget.” Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that the hard budget remains a moving target. She said $782M “is not a number I’ve heard.” She added, “Some of the bids are coming back higher than we had hoped to see, and in some cases, budgeted for. The numbers are all moving around, with things in and out. To this point, none are hard and fast. It’s changing day to day.”
WAITING UNTIL NEXT WEEK: The authority will wait until Mortenson delivers its guaranteed maximum price by the middle of next week before determining whether to solicit input from other contractors. Kelm-Helgen said, “If something significant happens with the GMP, we might have to take a look at the numbers and figure something out.” Peer reviews by architects and builders are not uncommon for major league sports projects, but sources said that taking such action indicates there is a problem with the budget. The hard budget is part of the $975M in total costs for the stadium project, a number covering fees paid to Mortenson and HKS, the stadium architect, as well as upgrades to infrastructure outside the building. The project has gone through several rough spots over the course of development, including a large shortfall in revenue from electronic gaming as a source of stadium funding.
USC officials "want their plans firmly scripted and financially stable" before any renovation work begins on L.A. Memorial Coliseum, "but they haven't been sitting idly," according to Rich Hammond of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. USC Senior Associate AD Mark Jackson said that he and AD Pat Haden in recent months "have visited approximately 20 college and NFL stadiums to get a sense of what was possible." Haden said that USC has "contacted architectural firms to determine what type of work is feasible in a 90-year-old stadium, and is conducting surveys to get the public's pulse." USC will "do its best to brighten up the place," as improvements in maintenance and concessions already "have been made." New seats are possible "fairly soon," as well as "some type of end zone 'club' or suites, a new press box and locker rooms." USC is "trying to stop the Coliseum from becoming a relic," as Oct. 6 marked the 90th anniversary of the first USC football game there. A 98-year lease calls for USC to make at least $70M in improvements before '24. But "how will that money be spent, and how much will it truly buy?" Haden said, "We're trying to move as quickly as we can, but there's no giant rush to put forth a plan and break ground. And, quite honestly, the university will not let me do anything until we've raised a considerable amount of money, to be able to pay for the renovations" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/23).
STEALING HOME? In L.A., Gale Holland reported UCLA "will appeal a decision that could force it to give up its baseball stadium on land leased from the U.S. veterans' agency." U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero on Monday "rejected a bid by the university and the Brentwood School to overturn his August ruling striking down commercial leases" on the Department of Veterans Affairs' West L.A. campus. But he said that the schools "could appeal the August decision." Otero's ruling means UCLA's team "will stay at Jackie Robinson Stadium, where it has played for nearly 50 years, through the 2014 baseball season" (LATIMES.com, 10/22).
Nassau County Exec Edward Mangano yesterday joined the developers of the upcoming Nassau Coliseum renovation "to tout plans for a new facade and at least seven restaurants" for the $229M project, according to Laura Figueroa of NEWSDAY. Forest City Ratner Chair & CEO Bruce Ratner and Long Island-based developers Edward and David Blumenfeld "fielded questions from an audience of about 200 small business owners." Ratner said of the redesign for the Coliseum's exterior featuring a metallic facade designed by SHoP Architects, "As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, this will be to Nassau." Mangano said that Nassau County has applied for $10M in state grant money "to build multitiered parking on the site, to free up land on the 77-acre Hub area that otherwise would contain surface parking." Ratner and Blumenfeld Development Group "plan to reduce the number of seats inside in the arena from the current 18,000 to 13,000, and will build an outdoor entertainment district featuring restaurants, a bowling alley and shops." The deal calls for Nassau County to receive a "minimum" of $4.4M annually -- a figure that would increase by 10% every five years (NEWSDAY, 10/24).
A banner depicting rock band Bon Jovi "will soon hang inside the Air Canada Centre," becoming the first in the arena "to celebrate a musician rather than a sports legend," according to Graham Slaughter of the TORONTO STAR. The banner will be unveiled Nov. 2, the "same day that Bon Jovi, here for a two-night gig, becomes the first inductee into the ACC’s new wall of fame." MLSE VP/Live Entertainment Wayne Zronik said that raising Bon Jovi's banner is "a special gesture to signify their record-breaking shows in Toronto." Bon Jovi has "sold more than 600,000 tickets in its 17 appearances at the ACC, more than any band in the arena’s history." ACC reps "could not confirm exactly where the banner will hang." MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke said, "We’ve left plenty of room up there for Stanley Cup banners. This doesn’t take away from the Leafs." Leiweke said that ACC "hosts more music acts than basketball or hockey games, so adding a banner of the bestselling musical act makes sense" (TORONTO STAR, 10/24).
NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday said a progress report on the Bucks' proposed arena was "relatively upbeat." He added team owners and other league staff during the BOG meetings got an update on the "various architects, financial planners, committees, taxing authority, a variety of things that have to be considered as [the league] moves forward to see whether there is a viable building deal to construct a building in Milwaukee." In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Stern's updates came two days before the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce is "expected to formally announce the rollout of an arena task force" (JSONLINE.com, 10/23).
OLYMPIC PROPORTIONS: The AP's Yuri Kageyama reports Japan is "scaling down the planned main stadium" for the '20 Tokyo Games, following "an uproar from some prominent architects who think it's too big and expensive." Japan Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura yesterday said the projected stadium cost of US$3B is "too massive a budget." Kageyama notes the "futuristic-looking" stadium would contain 80,000 seats (AP, 10/24).
WELCOME TO MIAMI: In Miami, Evan Benn wrote of the $3.5M upgrades to AmericanAirlines Arena's two Flagship Lounges, "Out with the drab grays, tired furniture and worn carpets; in with a sleek, modern design that feels one part frequent-flier airport club, one part glitzy South Beach restaurant." The lounges have "improved cocktails and food" and are "accessible only to those with courtside or Flagship seats -- the two priciest vantage points in the house" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 10/23).
SOONER OR LATER: In Oklahoma, Jason Kersey reports among the agenda items for yesterday's Univ. of Oklahoma Board of Regents meeting was "Gaylord Family -- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium 2013 Master Plan Update." The meeting agenda stated that the "item was presented for information only, and 'no action is required.'" The agenda also stated that architecture firm Populous "will review and update the Master Plan" (OKLAHOMAN, 10/24).