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Volume 24 No. 155


The NASCAR HOF's draft budget “predicts revenue from admissions will increase” nearly 20% next year, an “optimistic projection that runs counter to the experience of many similar attractions,” according to Steve Harrison of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The city-owned facility “projected 800,000 visitors for its first year,” but “attendance was roughly 274,000, including 12,000 free visits during an open house in January.” The draft budget “calls for $4.88 million in admission revenue next fiscal year, while this year's admissions revenue is expected to be $4.15 million.” A memo from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which operates the HOF, said that the admissions projections “are based on a ‘stretch’ target.” NASCAR HOF External Relations Manager Kimberly Meesters said that the HOF has had “no discussion about raising its ticket price.” The CRVA board is “set to vote on the budget at its meeting next week.” The HOF's first fiscal year, which ends June 30, is “expected to end with a $1.29 million operating loss.” The CRVA has said that “it will cover that loss from its reserves.” The projected increase for the upcoming fiscal year of more than $700,000 in admissions revenue “helped show no loss in its draft budget.” The HOF also is “slated to receive a $1.044 million operating subsidy from the city of Charlotte for the first time” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/2).

In Pittsburgh, Mark Belko notes City Council member Bruce Kraus during a fact-gathering session yesterday “questioned whether the Penguins' plans to redevelop” the Civic Arena site “were firm enough to merit the demolition of what he described as technological marvel to architecture.” Kraus said that “his biggest fear is that council will make a ‘hasty’ decision in voting against a city historic designation for the arena that ‘backfires on us.’” The designation “would prevent the arena from being razed.” Kraus was “one of several council members to raise the possibility of a two-year stay of execution for the arena or perhaps giving a temporary historic designation to the 49-year-old landmark while development plans are firmed up.” The Penguins “have proposed a 28-acre redevelopment on the arena site that would include 1,400 units of housing, 600,000 square feet of office space, and 200,000 square feet of commercial space” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/2).

IN THE HOME STRETCH: In New Jersey, John Brennan reports the “takeover of the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park by private interests did not occur Wednesday as scheduled, but both deals appear to be nearing completion.” Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey President Tom Luchento said that New York real estate exec Jeff Gural and his business partners are “waiting for approval” from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “on the memorandum of understanding that spells out the terms of a Meadowlands lease.” Luchento said that there “may be a transition period during which the state will continue to manage the technical aspects of operating the track, but with Gural gaining decision-making power even while the paperwork is being completed” (Bergen RECORD, 6/2).

SKATING AWAY: In Raleigh, Bracken & Price report the RecZone ice rink that was “foreclosed upon last month, has closed.” The Hurricanes “practiced at the rink, and it was also the home ice for N.C. State University's club hockey team.” The Hurricanes “have secured four days of ice time at the Factory Ice House in Wake Forest for the team's annual prospect conditioning camp next month.” Hurricanes Senior Dir of Team Operations Brian Tatum said that RecZone owner BB&T Bank told the team that the “equipment it stores at the RecZone can remain there” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/2).