IS HAWKS' ARENA IN JEOPARDY AFTER NBA CAP-O-NOMICS KICK IN?
In Atlanta, local government bodies "must vote all over
again" on the city's proposed $213M downtown sports arena
"because a key element of the financing has changed,"
according to Saporta & Unger of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.
If the Atlanta City Council, Fulton County Commission or the
Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority votes it down,
the entire "project would be in jeopardy." The change in
the plan "affects what had been an important taxpayer
safeguard," as the team had pledged all of its revenues to
repay arena construction bonds if the facility's income
wasn't enough to cover them, which "virtually guaranteed
taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for any shortfall." But the
NBA now says Hawks players "would have to be paid first."
With the salary cap at "about" $25M, that much less revenue
would be available back to the arena bonds. Fulton County
Commission Chair Mitch Skandalakis: "It seems odd that you
would go into this thing not knowing what the NBA's position
would be. I'm not happy at all. I think (the new arena
proposal) stands little chance of passage from my board."
But Michael Coleman, counsel representing the Hawks, said
they "have presented to the city and county staff a proposal
that we think offers even better protection to the
taxpayers" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/29).