Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander said Thursday he "will
drop his lawsuit to get out of Compaq Center before his
lease expires in 2003 because he is satisfied officials will
have a new arena by then," according to John Williams of the
HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Alexander has spent "about three years"
trying to get a new arena in Houston, arguing that the team
can't stay competitive without luxury suites, club seats and
"other revenue boosters." Harris County-Houston Sports
Authority member Michael Stevens said that the Authority had
"started preliminary negotiations with Alexander." In other
news, Alexander said he will "renew efforts" to acquire 25%
of the Vikings with a new investor group after Tom Clancy
withdrew his bid on Wednesday (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/22).
Hamilton County officials sold $273M in bonds on
Tuesday, the "final financing instruments for the Bengals'
new stadium," according to Lucy May of the CINCINNATI
ENQUIRER. The county received an "average" 5.16% interest
rate on the bonds. Earlier this year, the county issued
$71.6M in bonds at a 4.87% interest rate, and in all, the
county has sold $344.6M in bonds to pay for the stadium.
May wrote that is "considerably more" than the original
estimate of $322.7M, but officials cite the rising land cost
as one reason for the increase. The bonds will be paid off
by a half-cent county sales tax increase (CINCINNATI
ENQUIRER, 5/20). May reported yesterday that "even with the
favorable interest rates," documents show that interest
payments will total more than $353M over the 30-year debt.
Combined interest for the $273M in bonds sold Tuesday and
the $71.6M bond issue in January "brings the total cost of
the project," including the stadium complex plus financing
costs, to more than $753M. Hamilton County Commissioner Bob
Bedinghaus "stressed" that the cost of the $400.3M football
complex hasn't changed and said that county officials "plan
to pay off the debt early" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/21).
Boston city officials "downplayed" a report on "Inside
Edition" about food safety violations at Fenway Park.
Inspectional Services Department's John Eade: "We're in the
(television rating) sweeps. That's their story. I don't
want to respond to that." Aramark President of Stadiums and
Arenas John Pistone said the company will offer "additional
training" to employees (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/22)....Dallas
officials "are putting final touches" on a plan to lease the
Cotton Bowl to "a private group of business leaders that
intends to dome" the stadium (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/22).
...Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke is asking City Council to
approve a $450,000 study "to examine potential sites and the
economic benefits" of building a newer, larger Baltimore
Arena (Baltimore SUN, 5/22)....In Denver, the stadium board
"recommended tearing down McNichols Sports Arena to make way
for a new Broncos stadium." Final decision is up to the
Denver City Council (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/22)....With no
roof at Olympic Stadium, the temperature at the Expos' game
yesterday "was around" 15 degrees with a "brisk wind." The
announced crowd was 7,601, but there were "fewer than 1,000
on hand" for the last two innings (GAZETTE, 5/22).