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Volume 24 No. 137

Facilities Venues

          The Patriots could sign a "tentative deal" to move the
     team to RI "as early as today," according to Tina Cassidy of
     the BOSTON GLOBE.  Sources close to the deal tell Cassidy
     that RI's proposed contribution to help the team build a new
     stadium has increased to "as much as" $157M, "far above" the
     $80-120M first projected.  Cassidy's sources also say that
     the deal "would prohibit" team Owner Robert Kraft "from
     negotiating with any other community, including" Foxboro,
     although "it was not clear" whether there was a time limit
     on the exclusivity clause.  Cassidy adds that a bill being
     put together by Foxboro officials "now includes only" $50M
     in infrastructure improvements around Foxboro Stadium
     (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/23). In Providence, Scott MacKay reports
     that RI Gov. Lincoln Almond "will likely decide sometime
     this afternoon" whether to go ahead with the negotiations or
     "conclude that the stadium deal asks too much of state
     taxpayers and opt out."  MacKay also reports that Kraft has
     asked that a deal with Foxboro "be sweetened by about" $20M,
     with the extra money being used by the state to purchase
     land around Foxboro stadium.  The state would then "lease it
     back" to the team (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/23).
          DOUBLE TAKE? Almond's administration "acknowledged
     yesterday" that the annual payments on the state's reported
     $135M share of the deal "would come from" its general fund,
     according to Christopher Rowland of the Providence JOURNAL-
     BULLETIN.  RI State Senate Majority Leader Paul Kelly "is
     calling for a nonbinding referendum" on the stadium, while
     State House Finance Committee Chair Antonio Pires said the
     deal seems to "fly in the face" of Almond's pledge not to
     expose taxpayers to risk (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/23).    

          A S.F. CHRONICLE editorial commenting on the Raiders
     holding out on the Coliseum Authority's naming-rights deal
     with UMAX: "The Raiders' extortion ploy is all the more
     ridiculous because they are blowing a chance to get a nice
     windfall of cash and public relations.  Why do they insist
     on treating public officials as the enemy, when all parties
     have a common stake in making this deal work?" (S.F.
     CHRONICLE, 9/22)....Parking at Tropicana Field on game days
     when the Devil Rays begin play in '98 will likely cost $10
     (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/22)....The NJ Sports & Exposition
     Authority approved the first phase of an upgrade to the
     Continental Airlines Arena.  Plans call for a new sports bar
     and expanded restaurant, new bathrooms, and other amenities
     at the arena (Bergen RECORD, 9/20)....Arlington
     International Racetrack Owner Richard Duchossois, said his
     track, which is closing October 10, could possibly be home
     to the Bears.  Duchossois: "We're leaving our options open
     until after we close" (SUN-TIMES, 9/21). 

          Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) "has offered a
     guarantee maximum price" to prospective facility contractor
     Brown & Root to build a retractable roof for a new baseball
     park in Houston, according to John Williams of the HOUSTON
     CHRONICLE.  The structure would be "similar" to the one
     which Mitsubishi is scheduled to build for Miller Park in
     Milwaukee.  The roof is the construction "variable causing
     the most concern" in Houston, due to the cost and the
     "uncertainty that one will work as well in 20 years as it
     does when new."  While Mitsubishi is keeping its Houston
     offer "private," it is considered "a major development" as
     Brown & Root aims to "ensure" that the ballpark costs no
     more than $250M (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/23).