City officials "declared an impasse" yesterday in its
negotiations with the Denver Nuggets for a new arena. Officials
on both sides said that they hoped negotiations would resume --
possibly as early as today. The main sticking point in the
discussions is money, and how much the city will receive from the
team. It has been agreed that the team would leave McNichols
Sports Arena and enter into a 30-year lease at a new arena. The
Nuggets would then manage not only the new arena, but also
McNichols and the Denver Coliseum. In turn, the city would
receive an annual payment of $2.2M, which "represents the revenue
the city currently earns" from McNichols and the Colisuem. Under
the proposal, payments would increase 3% per year. However, the
sticking point is the city "insists" the annual payment increase
with inflation (Lopez & Monroe, DENVER POST, 1/12).
Officials from the Lightning are aiming to complete their
complex arena deal in time for the '96 season, now that they have
missed the deadline for '95. Team attorney Steve Pankau said
that in order to meet the new deadline, the deal may need to be
"wrapped up" by next month. Pankau: "Bonds to finance
construction of the $110 million to $120 million arena will be
sold in mid-February at the earliest. Waiting beyond then could
jeopardize a '96 opening" (Kevin Walker, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/11).
With an end to the NHL lockout, Lightning Governor David LeFevre
was sure the arena will be built (Tom McEwen, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
Abe Pollin's downtown arena project "has a long way to go"
before any games can be played in the new building, according to
a report in this morning's WASHINGTON POST. Although DC Mayor
Marion Barry says that the project is on the "fast track," Pollin
must win an "array of bureaucratic approvals and a mountain of
official papers must be pushed." In the coming weeks, the DC
Council will have to take "four separate votes on arena matters."
Among the issues to be voted on: the collection of a tax from
city businesses to pay for the city's share of development costs
($20M), financing details, and approval of a binding lease for
city property at Gallery Place. The deal also requires approval
from Congress and zoning authorities, and an "environmental
assessment" (Howard Schneider, WASHINGTON POST, 1/12).