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The Detroit City Council yesterday "narrowly approved a new Joe Louis Arena lease, clearing the way for a new Red Wings hockey venue north of downtown and marking the Joe for demolition once the team leaves, as early as the 2016-17 season," according to Joe Guillen of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Council members "raised several concerns about the new deal, notably" a $5.2M payment from the Red Wings "to settle any potential litigation over the city’s claim to a portion of the team’s cable TV revenues." Council member Mary Sheffield, who voted against the lease, said that Detroit is "not getting enough." But the council ultimately "approved the deal by a 5-4 vote." Construction of the new $450M arena "could begin in May." The city’s lease with Olympia Entertainment, which handles the Red Wings’ business operations, is "retroactive to 2010 and runs through June 2015." From then on, Olympia "has five, one-year renewal options." The team will pay $1M a year "in rent and property taxes, in addition to other fees including $100,000 a year for security at Joe Louis events and insurance costs of about $350,000 annually." The council also "questioned whether the city could be left on the hook to pay up-front costs to demolish Joe Louis." A state economic development board has set aside $6M "for demolition, but the money is not guaranteed, and the state is to be reimbursed using tax increment revenues." The city must "submit an application for the funds within six months of the Wings’ departure from Joe Louis." The application must include a $24M investment "to redevelop the Joe Louis site" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/1). A demolition "could occur as late" as '20 or '21 under the agreement (DETROIT NEWS, 4/1).
Orlando city leaders yesterday approved an agreement that "provides the closet look yet of the features" of a new $84M soccer stadium, according to Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The construction agreement was "approved unanimously by the City Council" and "spells out the process for building" the facility. The city will own the stadium, while USL Pro club Orlando City SC, which is set to join MLS in '15, "will act as the developer." It is "the same arrangement" the city and the Magic "used to build the Amway Center." Mayor Buddy Dyer said the team "will be on the hook for any cost overruns." Orlando City COO Brett Lashbrook said that a lot of consideration is "going into the design of what will be a more intimate stadium than the Citrus Bowl, where the team played last season." Schlueb notes Populous will design the stadium and "be paid from the team's portion of the funding, avoiding the need to go through the city's public bidding process." There also will be "a 4,000-square-foot team store, corner terraces and a lot of fan amenities." The stadium will contain "about 2,500 club-level seats, where premium ticket-holders will also have access to a 4,000-square-foot club with a buffet and bar." Between general admission, club level and suites, there "will be roughly 18,000 seats." The field "would be open to the sky, but the seating bowls on the east and west sides would be under a roof." Team owners have said that they "would like to begin playing in the new stadium" during the '15 season. But the agreement approved yesterday "pegs the completion date as Feb. 1, 2016" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/1).