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Volume 24 No. 112

Facilities Venues

     The special convention center commission investigating a
possible Boston megaplex said yesterday that both Summer Street
in South Boston and CrossTown in Lower Roxbury "can be made to
work."  The commission learned both sites have "environmental,
traffic and other pluses and minuses" but nothing has surfaced to
disqualify either location (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 5/11).
With recommendations due by the commission on June 1, the the
development team "pushing" CrossTown announced that Lehman
Brothers had agreed to underwrite their bonds and Cruz
Construction Co. and Suffolk Construction Co. have "signed on" as
construction partners (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10).
     PATRIOTS GETTING ANTSY?  The commission toured Foxboro
Stadium with Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and came away with the
impression that Kraft may "move the Patriots if no new stadium is
built."  Kraft described Foxboro as "charming" but "economically
obsolete."  State Sen. Robert Travaglini: "(Kraft) made it
abundantly clear to us that if the present conditions do not
change, they leave.  I fully believe that and the thought
frightens me" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/11).
     CLEVELAND ON THE CHARLES?  The Red Sox are looking at
Cleveland's Jacobs Field as a model of how to build/finance a new
stadium (Nick Cafardo, BOSTON GLOBE, 5/11).

     A survey conducted for this week's CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
(302 city and suburban residents from April 27-30) shows that
residents in both the city of Chicago and its suburbs agree that
the state should not help pay for a new stadium for the Bears.
Bears Owner Michael McCaskey has said he will ask the state to
help him pay for a $285M stadium in the suburbs and has chosen
two possible sites for a facility.  74% of city residents and 79%
of suburban residents said no to the plan.  Pollster Leo Shapiro
blamed widesweeping opposition to the plan on the team's failure
"to communicate the contribution they make to the community"
(Judith Crown, CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS, 5/8-14 issue).

     WA lawmakers are hoping to vote by Friday on a bill that
would allow the King County Council to raise the county sales tax
by .1 cent according to the Tacoma MORNING NEWS TRIBUNE.  This
legislation would create the $27M a year necessary to build a
proposed $280M retractable roof stadium for the Mariners.  The
bill would also "provide enough money" to finance ceiling and
roof repairs on the Kingdome.  According to State Rep. Steve Van
Luven, the bill would, among other things, establish a "public
facilities district to build and operate" the stadium; require
the Mariners to pay $45M of the cost over 20 years; require the
Mariners to sign a 20-year lease; require the Mariners to play at
least 90% of their home games there; and finally, the bill the
new ballpark is to have a "retractable roof and real grass."
Unlike prior proposals, this deal would not include direct state
participation, though Mariners officials have not "given up hope"
on state money.  Mariners VP Paul Isaki: "The issue of state
participation is not entirely closed" (Peter Callaghan, Tacoma
MORNING NEWS TRIBUNE, 5/11).

     The cost of financing a new stadium in Milwaukee "could be
lower than previously thought," according to Craig Gilbert of the
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL.  Stadium boosters and public
officials had been under the impression that it would take a
"revenue stream" of $18-22M a year for the next 20 years to pay
for the project.  Now, the governor's top cabinet official says
those figures "are getting better."   Gilbert writes that while
funding has been discussed, the main question remains:  "Who pays
for it."  WI Gov. Tommy  Thompson said Monday that a stadium
authority or district will be created to manage the entire
process.  But Gilbert notes that that still leaves questions as
to "How big the stadium district will be?," and "Who will sit on
the stadium district board?" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 5/10).

     The city of Oakland's planning commission has approved a
$75M plan to make the Oakland Coliseum more "football-friendly,"
according to this morning's OAKLAND TRIBUNE.  This announcement
comes as city officials continue to negotiate with Raiders Owner
Al Davis about the team's return to the Bay area.  Davis
reportedly "will not consider" moving the team back to Oakland
without a "sign" that officials are serious about the stadium.
Deputy City Manager Ezra Rapport: "We want to make sure there are
no impediments to a successful conclusion of ongoing
negotiations."  While planners have signed off on the deal, the
Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors
still must "agree" to sell bonds to finance the construction
(Salladay & Ronningen, OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 5/11).