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Volume 24 No. 156

Facilities Venues

     In recommending South Boston/Summer Street as the location
for a proposed convention center-sports complex costing $800M-1B,
the MA special megaplex commission "chose the site with the
biggest potential payoff -- but also the most daunting
challenges," according to Richard Kindleberger in this morning's
BOSTON GLOBE.  While the 10-3 vote for Summer Street over the
competing CrossTown project was a "major step forward for
megaplex boosters, commissioner said it was only a beginning.
The group still has to devise a plan to finance the project,
overcome potentially strong opposition from South Boston
residents and politicians and persuade the Legislature and Gov.
Weld to approve it."  On the issue of financing, the commission's
fiscal subcommittee was to meet today with the question of
possible fees and taxes on the agenda.  The commission is also
trying to convince companies -- ITT and Gillette are mentioned --
 to invest in the project (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).
     MONEY, MONEY:  MA Senate President William Bulger said a
hotel tax should be considered, if even for just the convention
center.  Gov. Weld has opposed all taxes for the project.
Commission members said the Patriots' contribution, $5M a year
for 25 years, would cover 30-40% of incremental stadium financing
costs.  Weld:  "The way out of the woods on (financing the
stadium) is to bring in partners from the private sector either
for naming rights or for other sorts of relationships with the
professional sports teams involved" (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD,
5/25).
     FROM THE TEAMS:  The plan includes new stadiums for both the
Patriots and Red Sox.  While Patriots Owner Robert Kraft had no
preference between sites, Red Sox CEO John Harrington was
"thrilled" with the choice.  Harrington:  "That's where we want
it to be, whether they go through with the megaplex or not.  This
would be perfect."  As for the Patriots, Kraft received
confirmation from NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue that he would
recommend Boston get the Super Bowl in 2001.  Will McDonough
notes, "In his five years in office, Tagliabue has seldom been so
aggressive on an issue like this" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).  While
Red Sox officials and commission members felt they could reach "a
conceptual deal" by June 1, other key issues, including
financing, must be cleared first.  The Red Sox have agreed to pay
$150M for their own stadium, but "they want land and
infrastructure to be provided" (Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD,
5/25).
     OTHER REACTION:  A BOSTON GLOBE editorial notes:  "Site
selection is easy compared with the difficult matter of finance"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).  Senate President Bulger and U.S. Rep. Joe
Moakley, both from South Boston, withheld judgment.  Bulger:  "I
want to know what the impact is on the community" (BOSTON HERALD,
5/25).  Columnist Rachelle Cohen calls the site a "romantic
vision" and floats the possibility that some "powerful people in
town" wouldn't mind losing the football stadium portion of the
project (BOSTON HERALD, 5/25).  Community leaders in Roxbury,
home to CrossTown, "vowed a fight until the ground was broken to
bring the megaplex to Roxbury" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).

     TX House Speaker Pete Laney ruled on Tuesday that
legislation to provide tax subsidies to erect new sports venues
in Texas cities could not be considered, which "effectively
killed the bill," according to the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  Laney's
move came after State Rep. Kenneth Brimer raised a point of order
on the bill charging that the House State Affairs Committee did
not meet in the "announced" location when it considered the bill
and thus prevented the public from having the chance to attend
the committee discussion, as required by law (John Williams,
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/24).  Brimer, who resides in Kennedale, near
Arlington, apparently was motivated to defeat the bill because
the final version "forbid the Mavericks from moving to
Arlington."  The bill was sponsored by Dallas State Rep. Royce
West, and was called "typical Dallas arrogance," by Arlington
Mayor Richard Greene, who is also upset about a letter from
Dallas that threatens to sue Arlington if they negotiate with the
Mavericks.  Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett says Brimer's dismissal
of the bill on a technicality was "a sneak attack.  Mr. Brimer,
for reasons known only to him, essentially declared war on his
neighbors."  Mavericks GM Norm Sonju said that the death of the
bill could perhaps lead "to the exodus of other professional
sports teams in the state" (Christopher Ave, FT. WORTH STAR-
TELEGRAM, 5/25).
     KING JERRY:  Irving officials said the defeat of the bill
"doesn't have any material effect" on the city's potential
cooperation with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones for improvements to
Texas Stadium.  Jones is seeking partial funding for a $180M
renovation of the stadium, including sealing the roof, adding
several thousand more seats and an interactive theme park (FT.
WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/25).