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Volume 24 No. 113


AEG is "nearing a deal to develop a massive new $1.5 billion sports and entertainment complex in Moscow," according to Muret & Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The sports venues are "targeted to open in 2016, with the stadium a centerpiece of the 2018 FIFA World Cup competition." The NBA "has been in preliminary talks with the developers about a new concept, the NBA Club, a themed destination that could be part of the complex’s mixed-use development." Developers said that the NBA Club "could include a restaurant, children’s play area, a small gymnasium and a retail store, serving as a way for the league to extend its grassroots development to Russia." VTB Stadium and Arena -- the "working title of the project is named after VTB Bank, the Moscow bank spearheading the development -- encompasses a new 45,000-seat stadium, a 15,000-seat arena tied to a high-end commercial district, and a five-star hotel in the city’s historic Petrovsky Park." AEG Facilities COO Bob Newman said that his company "has been assisting VTB Bank for design and construction of the stadium and arena in the early stages of development." Newman and Andrei Peregoudov, VTB Bank Senior VP and Chair of the board for the sports development, both said that the "relationship could result in AEG Facilities signing a deal to operate both sports facilities." The NBA "has been consulting with VTB Bank on the arena portion." Peregoudov said that VTB Bank is "close to completing financing for the project." Officials "have been talking to other international banks about funding, about $1 billion of which is set aside for the 650,000 square feet of leasable commercial space." VTB Bank execs "plan to adopt the Western model of marketing arenas and stadiums by selling naming rights, founding partnerships and premium seats, while outsourcing deals for facility services such as ticketing and concessions" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/28 issue).

L.A.'s Planning Department will host an "informal session" Wednesday afternoon for the public to discuss AEG's proposed Farmers Field, beginning a "months-long process of identifying, studying and attempting to lessen environmental effects of the proposed stadium next door to Staples Center," according to Rich Connell of the L.A. TIMES. City officials said that "renderings of the stadium and other information will be available at the open-house-style meeting, along with consultants for the developer and city planners." The project is "going through a full environmental impact report process," although AEG officials have indicated that the firm "might seek some legislative protection from lawsuits that could delay the project." L.A. Dir of Planning Michael LoGrande said that "key issues for the Los Angeles proposal will include 'really looking at the context of the stadium and how it fits into downtown,' ensuring that it doesn't overshadow surrounding development." Connell noted "getting tens of thousands of stadium-goers in and out of the area on the southern edge of downtown's high-rise office and residential district will also be a focus of the study" (L.A. TIMES, 3/27). In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore noted AEG has selected Gensler to design Farmers Field, and the L.A.-based firm's "familiarity with L.A. Live could help expedite the environmental report." ICON Venue Group President & CEO Tim Romani, whose firm represents AEG for the stadium project, said it will "allow us to accelerate our EIR work product and continue AEG's mission to return the NFL to Los Angeles." Gensler's team is led by Andy Cohen and Ron Turner. AEG also "announced a separate process Friday to select an architect to design the Convention Center that will ultimately relocate the existing West Hall" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/26).

ALREADY DRAWING RETAILERS: In L.A., Roger Vincent reported with AEG's plan to build a new events center in downtown L.A., "some retailers and developers have begun scouting the neighborhood and sounding out commercial real estate brokers for opportunities." CB Richard Ellis broker Derrick Moore said that "chain stores prospecting for new downtown locations include CVS and Walgreens drugstores and various large clothing stores." Vincent noted grocery store chains Sprouts Farmers Market and Fresh & Easy "are also scanning the area." Real estate brokers indicated that "at least four major hotel chains are contemplating a spot downtown, with their sights set on a spot near L.A. Live and the convention center" (L.A. TIMES, 3/27).