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Oilers Owner Daryl Katz on Thursday unveiled new details about the C$2.5B Edmonton Arena District, a "mega-development that will transform four million square feet (including the arena) of downtown parking lots and one-storey building sites into what he calls the largest mixed-use sports and entertainment project in Canada," according to a front-page piece by Bill Mah of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Planning for the district "began at the same time as design work started" on Rogers Place, with help from AEG, the group behind L.A. Live. The EAD "will be built over two phases." The first stage "is already underway and its 2.6 million square feet of development around the arena is slated for completion" in '19. WAM Development Group President & CEO Darren Durstling said that an "upscale hotel and luxury residential tower will be built." A casino that will be as big as 60,000 square feet is "slated to go in a building just east of the arena that will also house Oilers and Katz Group offices and a practice rink." A retail podium "will be completed" to the west of the arena in '19 with a residential tower "opening a few months later." Durstling said that the podium "will house entertainment and lifestyle retailers such as a movie theatre, fitness gym, grocery, pharmacy, bank and restaurants." The project also includes "a 50,000-square-foot public plaza" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 8/29). Katz said of the EAD, "There's nothing like this district in Canada." He added that L.A. Live "took more than a decade to build and didn't have as much interest at the outset from businesses wanting to move there." He also "stressed the importance of the residential space, which now totals more than 1,000 units" (EDMONTON SUN, 8/29). In Edmonton, Terry Jones notes Katz in announcing the project details on Thursday was "uncommonly relaxed, engaging, invigorated, excited." Instead of "holding his cards close to his vest," the owner was "laying his cards on the table and declaring 'full house'" (EDMONTON SUN, 8/29).
Notre Dame will "begin construction in late November on Campus Crossroads," the $400M project that will "add three academic buildings onto Notre Dame Stadium and premium seating" to the 84-year-old venue, according to a front-page piece by Margaret Fosmoe of the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE. The 800,000-square-foot project will take "approximately 33 months, with completion expected" in summer '17. ND's final home football game this year is on Nov. 22 and a "day or two after that game, construction will commence" on the project. It will include "premium seating for fans, outdoor terraces overlooking the football field and media space on the top floors of both the east and west buildings." Construction will "begin on the east and west buildings around Nov. 24." However, it is "not expected to affect" the team's schedule and "no home games will be moved to other locations because of the work." Work on the south building will begin in November '15 and the "entire project is expected to be completed" by August '17. The university said that revenue "generated through premium seating football ticket sales will be used to help pay for the project and to maintain the new academic and student life buildings." Notre Dame VP/Public Affairs & Communications Paul Browne said that the project is "expected to add more than 2,000 additional seats" to the stadium which currently seats 80,795. A "precise figure for total seating after the project is complete hasn't been announced," but Browne said that there is "internal discussion of possibly reconfiguring some of the seats in the existing bowl, although no major changes are planned" (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 8/29).
UNLV Chair & acting President Don Snyder suggested during a meeting Thursday that the Campus Improvement Advisory Board "delay its request" for funding a new football stadium until the '17 session of the state Legislature, according to Brian Nordli of the LAS VEGAS SUN. Snyder said that "funding requests for a UNLV school of medicine and a new building for the Harrah’s Hotel College should take priority." He added that the request for the 45,000-seat, $523M open-air stadium "made more sense for next session." Nordli notes the stadium would be "funded through a combination of a tax district on the Strip, stadium income, naming rights and fundraising" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 8/29). UNLV VP/University Advancement Bill Boldt indicated that the date change "will give him time to dig up more private financial support." In Las Vegas, Alan Snel reports Snyder on Thursday insisted that the stadium is "needed, feasible and a good business strategy for the university." The costs for the facility would include $342M for "hard construction costs" and $80.9M for "soft costs such as design and architectural services." The site and infrastructure would cost $100M. It would be another $50M "to prepare the open-air stadium for a future dome addition" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/29).
The Braves are "disputing a charge" by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that the franchise "missed a deadline earlier this week to tell the city when the team plans to leave Turner Field," according to Carla Caldwell of the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE. The Braves in an e-mail sent late Thursday to WSB-TV wrote that they are "confused by comments made by Reed about the missed deadline." The Braves said that the "only deadline that has ever existed is the one in the team’s current operating agreement with the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority." That agreement "gives the team until Dec. 31, 2015 to make its exit plan known." The Braves' lease at Turner Field expires Dec. 31, 2016. WSB early Thursday reported Reed said that the Braves "missed a deadline on Monday to alert the city if the team will renew its lease at Turner Field" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/29).
In Detroit, John Gallagher reports the city’s planned arena district development "took a step closer to reality" on Thursday as Ilitch Holdings execs "began briefing Detroit-based contractors on how they can participate in the project." Working with the city of Detroit, the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development "has set a goal of using 30% Detroit-based firms as contractors for the arena district and hiring 51% of construction workers from among Detroit residents" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/29).
COMING OUT OF THEIR SHELL: The Univ. of Maryland on Thursday announced that videoboards at Byrd Stadium and Xfinity Center "have been upgraded for this season." In Baltimore, Don Markus notes there "will be a new LED display at Byrd Stadium -- including one with closed captioning -- and side displays on a new Daktronic videoboard at the Xfinity Center." UM Senior Associate AD/Media Relations & Strategic Communications Zack Bolno said that the cost of the project is $3.9M, which "will be raised through ticket sales and sponsorship without the aid of tax, tuition or general university funds." He added that the videoboard at Byrd Stadium "was 14 years old and had 'operational issues' last season" (Baltimore SUN, 8/29).
NEW RALPH NEEDED? A BUFFALO NEWS editorial ran under the header, "Ralph Wilson Stadium's Shortcomings Give Weight To Push For A New Stadium." The Bills' home is "substandard, and in just about every way, including its location and, critically, the amount of revenue it can produce." Traveling to Orchard Park "is a disincentive to many fans." A stadium in, "or at least nearer to, Buffalo would make more geographic sense and allow the team to better leverage more distant fan bases." A bigger stadium in Buffalo "means more money for all owners and diminishes the possibility that the necessary three-fourths of member clubs would vote to allow the Bills to move." These factors "provide a powerful argument in favor of a new stadium" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/28).