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Volume 24 No. 133


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton told  Vikings owners the Wilf family yesterday that the franchise's new venue "will have to be at the Metrodome site if a stadium bill is to pass the Legislature this year, and the team is not happy," according to Doug Belden of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Officials at the Basilica of St. Mary, “next to the Linden Avenue site, have objected to having a stadium there, as has at least one business owner.” Vikings VP/Stadium Operations & Public Affairs Lester Bagley said, "We were told by the governor's office that the Linden Avenue site is not viable at least in the short run. Vikings ownership is extremely frustrated with the situation." Bagley said that Zygi and Mark Wilf “might be meeting with the governor Wednesday to talk further about a stadium plan.” Dayton spokesperson Katharine Tinucci said, "We're only looking at negotiating the Metrodome now." Belden notes there is “some concern Minneapolis leaders would be reluctant to sell a city-owned portion of the site for a stadium.” A substantial “rehab of the Dome would require the Vikings to play in the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium for three years,” and team officials said that that would mean “financial and other hardships.” The Metrodome plan “was the least expensive" -- $918 million -- of the proposed sites. That figure “includes $11 million for improvements to TCF Bank Stadium to make it NFL ready.” Dayton's office assumed “a $428 million team contribution and $340 million from the state.” The Vikings “have not said how much they would contribute to a stadium site other than Arden Hills” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/24). In Minneapolis, Stassen-Berger, Ragsdale & Kaszuba note Dayton’s decision comes “days after he said that the Metrodome, Linden Avenue and Arden Hills sites all had flaws and that it was a ‘genuine possibility’ no stadium agreement would be reached at the Legislature this year.” Minneapolis officials, including Mayor R.T. Rybak, have said that “rebuilding the Metrodome would be easier to approve in the council than building at the Linden Avenue location” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/24).

The revenue needed to pay for the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville “is falling short of expectations, putting the project at risk of failing to cover its debt and having its bonds relegated to ‘junk’ status,” according to Marcus Green of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. The main culprit is “lagging revenue in a special taxing district that forms the foundation of the arena’s financing plan and is supposed to provide the Louisville Arena Authority with more than enough cash to pay its $349 million in bonds.” The six-square-mile district’s “poor sales-tax performance may force the authority to dip into its reserves -- including money set aside for maintenance -- to make routine debt payments.” Former Louisville Arena Authority Chair Jim Host, who retired at the end of ’11, said that the orgnaization has “no plans to ask Louisville city government to increase its annual minimum arena payment of $6.5 million for the next fiscal year.” Under the authority’s deal with the city, the arena “must first exhaust all other revenue -- from naming rights to operating income -- before asking the city to pay more.” The authority “expected to have $26 million available -- including $6.7 million from the taxing district -- for its 2011 payment of $19.1 million.” But the district produced “only $2.1 million in 2010, which goes toward the 2011 payment.” Coupled with “lower-than-forecast income from arena operations, the authority expects to have only $14.6 million.” For '12, the authority anticipates being “roughly $3 million short of its $19.9 million payment.” Host said that the authority “likely would use money set aside for maintenance to cover that gap.” He also said that the arena’s projections for tax-increment financing “were based on historical data that showed steady tax growth in the six-square-mile area.” Host said that he is "confident that the tax-district revenues will increase." He and Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet Secretary and Arena Authority Finance Committee Chair Larry Hayes said that they are "banking on new restaurants such as Doc Crow’s and the planned development along Whiskey Row on Main Street, and Host said projections showing increased hotel revenues are likely to help" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/21).