SBJ/January 19 - 25, 2004/Facilities

No slow Burn: Frisco sifts construction bids again for soccer stadium

Frisco, Texas, remains on schedule to begin building a Major League Soccer complex in February despite having to repeat the public process of hiring a construction firm, a city official said.

The city could not agree on contract terms with Centex, the company initially selected to negotiate the building of the complex, said Scott Young, assistant city manager. It will comprise a 20,000-seat stadium for the Dallas Burn and 17 soccer fields for high school and recreational use.

Centex built two Frisco facilities: Dr Pepper/7Up Ballpark, home of the Frisco RoughRiders minor league baseball team, and the Dr Pepper Starcenter, the NHL Dallas Stars' practice facility. Groundbreaking for the soccer complex is scheduled for Feb. 18, and the Burn is to start play there in spring 2005.

Groundbreaking on the venue (shown in rendering) is set for February.

Young said the City Council will recommend and approve a new construction manager at its Tuesday meeting from five bids received the second time around: Manhattan Construction Co., a joint venture with Thomas S. Byrne and J.E. Dunn, Lee Lewis Construction, Turner Sports Group and Hunt Construction Group. Centex did not resubmit a bid, Young said.

The city and Collin County are each investing $20 million in the $65 million project, with $15 million allocated by the Frisco Independent School District and $10 million from Hunt Sports Group, owner of the Burn and no relation to Hunt Construction Group.

FALLEN COMRADE: Attendees of the IAAM International Stadium Management Conference Jan. 8-10 in Houston were sad to hear that John Friedmann, executive director of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority in Kansas City and an IAAM member since 1962, died Jan. 9. Friedmann, 71, was shot in a robbery Dec. 28 when he stopped for a car wash while driving home from the Bears-Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Friedmann
Friedmann was a facility manager or consultant for 40 years, the last 13 spent supervising operations at Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium.

His brethren will remember Friedmann for his tremendous sense of humor. Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission in Minneapolis, said: "A few years ago, the Stadium Managers Association board of directors was meeting in Baltimore in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game. John came along with the board to dinner to try to score a free meal. At the end of the meal, John went to use the rest room. We all hid in the kitchen and told the waiter to give John the check. He was hilarious, using every trick he had to get out of paying that bill."

Friedmann was an SMA member for 14 years. Kerry Goodson, the organization's executive director in Des Moines, Iowa, said the group will recognize Friedmann's leadership at its Feb. 1-5 convention in San Antonio.

CAN'T WAIT TILL '08: Glendale Arena general manager Ron Woodbridge said his facility will be involved in the festivities surrounding the 2008 Super Bowl at the Arizona Cardinals stadium, which is being built across the street from the Phoenix Coyotes' facility. The stadium is to open in 2006.

Arena Management Group, the Coyotes' in-house facility operator, is coordinating Super Bowl-related events with the Cardinals, the Maricopa County Sports Authority and the Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority.

"We're committed to holding the building for six days preceding the Super Bowl. We will be part of the NFL Experience," the league's interactive fanfest, Woodbridge said.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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