A "planned negotiating session" between RI Gov. Lincoln
Almond's administration and the Patriots "fizzled yesterday
amid signs of tension, but Almond nonetheless said he is
sticking to his deadline of tomorrow to cut a Providence
stadium deal," according to Christopher Rowland of the
Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN. Almond did not say what would
happen if the deadline passes with no deal, but the Patriots
said that "they were not going to rush their deliberations."
Sources familiar with the talks said that the Patriots "were
frustrated by Almond's public call" for team Owner Robert
Kraft to sign a "memorandum of understanding" by Friday.
The team "has expressed discomfort" with Almond's request
that they "commit" to RI "and not entertain competing offer"
from MA (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/18).
IN BOSTON: If Kraft moves the team, "there apparently
will be no hue and cry on Beacon Hill, and certainly far
less than there was when he tried to relocate the team to
South Boston," according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE
in a front-page analysis of the team's stadium saga. One
individual involved in the talks said a RI deal is "very
realistic, both in terms of deal structure and in terms of
timing." The individual added Foxboro officials "can't get
their act together ... Rhode Island is way ahead of them.
Kraft preferred to stay in [Foxboro], but saw no momentum or
energy being created." The GLOBE's Cassidy adds that Kraft
"is now considering" bringing NASCAR racing to Foxboro to
replace the team (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). A GLOBE editorial
calls for MA Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci to "get behind a
proposal that combines state aid" with the Foxboro plan
(BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). GLOBE media writer Howard Manly notes
a move would have the team leaving the sixth-largest media
market, with two million TV households, to the 46th-largest
with about 600,000 TV households (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).
NEW YORK: Prospective Islanders Owners Steven
Gluckstern and Howard Milstein met with Nassau County Exec
Thomas Gulotta for "what both sides described as a
constructive, get-to-know-each-other meeting" regarding the
possible development of the 70-acre site of the Nassau
Coliseum (Ken Moritsugu, NEWSDAY, 9/18).
INDIANAPOLIS: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS)
President Tony George "said he believes it's possible a
Formula One race could be held" at IMS before the end of
'99. George: "It would be an awfully big challenge, but
it's feasible" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 9/18).
The cost of renting a car in Harris County, TX, will
increase 5% on October 1 after a tax was imposed Wednesday
to help finance construction of Houston's new ballpark,
according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The
newly created Harris County/Houston Sports Authority imposed
the tax one week after imposing a 2% The rental car tax was
set "after board members got their first look at the latest
design for a proposed retractable-roof baseball park the
authority is expected to start building later this year."
Authority members and project architects "promised" that the
stadium "will come in at no more" than $250M and open by
April 1, 2000 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/18).
Developers of a new downtown L.A. arena "vowed
Wednesday to abandon their plans" if a proposed initiative
requiring popular votes on publicly subsidized pro sports
facilities qualifies for the ballot, according to Ted
Rohrlich of the L.A. TIMES. Rohrlich: "The statement
represented a significant toughening of the developers'
previous public position that they would probably abandon
the project if the proposed initiative by Councilman Joel
Wachs receives the 62,000 signatures it needs in the next
four months to qualify for a spot on the ballot sometime
next year. The developers also indicated that they are
willing to wage a publicity campaign to dissuade voters from
signing the councilman's petitions." Anschutz Corp.
President Cannon Harvey: "We will certainly do what is
necessary to make sure that Mr. Wachs' proposed initiative
is well understood by the voters" (L.A. TIMES, 9/18).
Detroit-based architecture firms Barton Malow Co. and
Walbridge Aldinger Co., MI's "two largest construction
firms," are "among finalists" to construct the Lions' new
$225M stadium in downtown Detroit, according to Patricia
Montemurri of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Officials "close to
the negotiations" said that the two firms may "team up" to
build the stadium. The two firms "have worked with each
other on some projects, but their collaboration rarely has
taken the form of a joint partnership." Turner Construction
Co., which will oversee the Tigers' new ballpark, is also a
finalist for the project (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/19).