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Volume 24 No. 114


The state of California yesterday "appeared to be ready to put the brakes on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission's proposed lease deal with USC," according to Rong-Gong Lin II of the L.A. TIMES. California Secretary of State & Consumer Services Anna Caballero said that state officials "want to be satisfied that the deal is the best one possible for the taxpayers who own the venue." She said that the state was "disinclined to rush an agreement to meet the Coliseum's requested deadline for action by the end of June." Caballero: "The state won't be rubber-stamping … what the commission has negotiated or agreed to. We've identified some concerns." The Coliseum Commission yesterday "released financial statements showing losses" of $2.4M in fiscal '09-10 and $4.8M the following year. The proposed lease would "surrender day-to-day control of the property to USC." The school has promised to invest $70M to "renovate the dilapidated stadium in return for the right to run it for 99 years and control its revenue." Outside experts have called the deal "extraordinary, saying USC would reap most of the benefit." Caballero said that the state has "hired an Oakland law firm, Goldfarb & Lipman, which represented Los Angeles in the Staples Center deal and the city of Santa Clara in its recent deal to build an NFL stadium, to help evaluate the Coliseum proposals." She is also "reviewing an assessment of the lots' value." Caballero: "We're going to take the time we need to make sure we've got everything right. This is an incredibly important public facility" (L.A. TIMES, 5/3).

The Orlando City Council on Monday is expected to “approve a five-year lease for The Club at NBA City, a restaurant and bar being launched by representatives of NBA City at Universal CityWalk and the former manager of the Montecristo Club at the old city arena,” according to Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The restaurant will "fill 4,160 square feet of ground-floor space" on the northwest corner of the Amway Center, which “has been walled off since the building opened in October 2010.” Project partner Tim Cary, who ran the Montecristo Club, said, “The build-out is very large, almost $1 million. When they built the arena, they planned to put a restaurant in there. But they didn’t do anything -- it’s a dirt floor; there are no walls or ceilings.” Schlueb reports The Club at NBA City will “be about a third the size” of the NBA City restaurant at Universal CityWalk and is “expected to open around October.” The plan is for half the restaurant to be "open to the public" while “the other half will be private.” The private half will “be open only to paid members, just as the Montecristo Club was at the old arena.” The Montecristo Club "had 315 members" when Amway Arena closed in '10. Plans also call for "outdoor-patio seating on the plaza around the arena.” NBA City GM Gerri Ferreira said, “If it works as well as we think it might, it will be something that we can take to other arenas.” Schlueb notes Magic execs are "considering their own expansion across Church Street from the arena.” Magic Owner Rich Devos wants to “turn what is now a city-owned parking garage with ground-floor retail space into a $100 million sports-and-entertainment complex” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/3).

In St. Louis, Matthew Hathaway writes the “question of whether taxpayers will get to see the St. Louis Rams’ proposal for renovating the Edward Jones Dome now rests in the hands of a judge. The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and St. Louis Post-Dispatch “both filed lawsuits on Wednesday, presenting divergent arguments about records related to Dome renovations and what role public debate should have in the process.” In its filing, the CVC sayid that it “intends to make public any deal struck with the Rams. But until a deal is reached, it argues, the talks could be hurt if the public knows too much” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/3).

FEELING BLUE: In Winnipeg, Kirk Penton writes the CFL Blue Bombers’ new Investors Group Field “won’t be ready until September at the earliest, and the price tag is on the rise.” The club “had hoped to be in the new park for their home opener on July 26.”  As a result of the delay, the team’s first loan payment to the provincial government, part of the $85M the team owes over 40 years, “has been pushed back from 2013 to 2014.” The club will also spend between $3M-$8M “from its own cash reserves to pay for upgrades to the video scoreboards, two ribbon boards and concession stands” at the new venue (WINNIPEG SUN, 5/3).

WAVE OF THE FUTURE: In New Orleans, Tammy Nunez wrote Tulane Univ. “reached out to the community and its supporters Tuesday when it appeared its January groundbreaking for an on-campus football stadium could be in jeopardy.” District Councilmember Susan Guidry recently “proposed an Interim Zoning District, which university officials said could freeze or slow construction projects campus-wide.” Tulane and other local universities have protested the idea, “claiming it unfairly singles out” the stadium project. The latest news is part of a “continuing disagreement between Tulane and some of its neighbors over the proposed stadium.” Tulane “took strong steps to drum up opposition to Guidry’s proposal Tuesday, issuing several press releases to urge citizens to fight” the proposed zoning district and attend a meeting set for today (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/2).

HOSTS WITH THE MOST: The NCAA D-I men’s and women’s soccer committees have selected Philadelphia and Cary, N.C., to serve as the hosts for the ’13 men’s and women’s D-I Soccer Championships, respectively. The men’s College Cup will be played at PPL Park on Dec. 13 and 15 in ‘13, hosted by Villanova Univ., while the women’s College Cup will be played at WakeMed Soccer Park on Dec. 6 and 8 in ’13, hosted by Campbell Univ. (NCAA).