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Volume 24 No. 117


The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission "has submitted a new renovation proposal to the Rams that would include 'tens of millions' more in improvements," according to Jesse Bogan of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The plan "to make the Dome a 'first-tier' stadium features a glass exterior, outdoor terraces and 9,278 club seats." The CVC "had previously submitted to the Rams a more modest, $124 million proposal and offered to split the cost with the team." The Rams "rejected that plan and offered their own, calling for a major demolition of the existing facility and the addition of a sliding roof panel." The CVC's new plan "does not include a cost estimate." CVC President Kitty Ratcliffe said, "We do expect it to be a little bit higher than we originally planned but not a substantial amount higher. It's not doubling or anything like that. We know it will be tens of millions more." Bogan notes the "biggest change in the plan is a 55,000-square-foot addition to the existing structure, including 7,000 square feet of terraces, rather than a three-story structure built on Baer Plaza that would have served as an entrance for fans in club seats and suites." The new plan instead "includes a 'featured entrance to the stadium, offering the Rams' premium seat fans an exclusive front-door experience,' which isn't currently available." It calls for "a glass addition to the east side of the building" to provide better views of downtown. The two-sided, center-hung scoreboard "would become four-sided, while scoreboards in the end zones would be removed to free up space for club seats." Additionally, the plan calls for "renovated suites, new indoor and outdoor club lounges, larger concourses, a new, two-level team store with a street entrance, 30 new escalators (bringing the total to 62) and updated lighting and signage" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/21).

DOUBLE FEATURE: In St. Louis, Jim Thomas noted Rams Exec VP Kevin Demoff on Saturday, in an effort to get fans in the stands for a preseason game at Edward Jones Dome, tweeted that fans attending the Pirates-Cardinals game Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium could get Chiefs-Rams "game-day tickets at season-ticket prices if they brought their baseball ticket stubs to the dome." That represented a 40% discount "over game-day prices." The announced crowd for Chiefs-Rams was 53,272 in the 66,000-seat Edwards Jones Dome (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/20).

Daytona Int'l Speedway's rezoning requests "make up a massive development on 663 acres and, if approved at all the government meetings over the next few months, will clear the way for Daytona International Speedway to create a racing and entertainment complex unlike anything Daytona Beach has ever seen," according to a front-page piece by Eileen Zaffiro-Kean of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. DIS "could one day build a combined 2 million square feet of retail space, 1,785 hotel rooms and 1,600 multi-family residential units on its land straddling International Speedway Boulevard." Casino gambling "also could be added, if it's legalized in Florida." DIS officials on Thursday "will ask the city's Planning Board to approve changes at the racetrack that would include redesigning the grandstands to create a more modern stadium appearance." Although the city "has zoning authority over the Speedway's properties, the Volusia County Council also will discuss the request at its meeting Thursday." The county "owns most of the racetrack property and is in a lease agreement with the Speedway that expires in 2054." DIS President Joie Chitwood yesterday said that "there is no timeline for the Speedway improvements," but he indicated that "some of the plans could be put in motion in the next few years." His plan proposes "aesthetic changes to the track's exterior, front-stretch grandstands and entry points." Chitwood "wants to install a new 'skin' on the exterior of the Speedway to create a modern stadium appearance and a new front-stretch grandstand 'to pay homage to racing history.'" Daytona Beach Deputy City Manager Paul McKitrick said that the rebuilding of the north side grandstands "could start in about a year and possibly be completed in about three years." City Planner Rich Walton said that the Speedway "has discussed creating five new track entrances with sponsors such as Pepsi or Sprint that could have their own vendors set up just inside" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 8/21). The track in June took the first step toward a major redevelopment by filing paperwork with city and hiring an architect.

The 49ers and Santa Clara city leaders “have struck a nearly $7 million-a-year deal" with Stamford, Conn.-based sports concessions company Centerplate to "sell food, drinks and souvenirs" at the team's new stadium set to open in '14, according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Centerplate also currently "operates concession stands at Candlestick and AT&T parks.” Santa Clara officials “expect to endorse the agreement” today. The 60-page agreement “includes such provisions as celebrity chef meals in suites, a guarantee that all food ordered at stands be ready within 60 seconds and up to eight spots for local restaurants to sell food.” Centerplate will “provide $1 million toward construction of the $1.2 billion stadium.” The 49ers will “rake in" 55% of gameday concession and merchandise sales, or "at least $6.8 million per year, during the five-year contract, which can be extended an additional decade.” Centerplate also “must give the team $75,000 to $125,000 for each NFC home playoff game" and provide the Santa Clara Stadium Authority 40-48% commission "during concerts and other events.” The firm was "picked as the likely" concession operator in '11, and currently "is the concessionaire for 250 venues and events, including 10 NFL teams" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/21).

Live Nation Canada Chair Riley O’Connor yesterday said that a proposed Markham arena “will need an NHL franchise, other pro hockey or basketball team, because concerts won’t be able to generate enough revenue for a successful business,” according to Van Alphen & Javen of the TORONTO STAR. O’Connor said, “You really need a major tenant to make that happen. In almost all major Canadian arenas, that’s an NHL team, an AHL team, a major junior hockey team. You can’t do it on concerts alone.” The comments come after Bauer Sports Performance Chair and GTA Sports & Entertainment Chair & CEO Graeme Roustan said that the Markham facility “can work well without an NHL franchise.” O’Connor’s comments “mark the first time that someone in the arena group of consultants and advisers has raised doubts about the project’s viability without a major tenant.” Roustan responded, “How can Riley say that? He won’t be operating the building. He doesn’t know the costs. That’s what Global Spectrum is doing for us.” Van Alphen & Javen note Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum is “another partner in the project,” and the company has estimated “the 20,000-seat Markham arena could attract 133 events annually.” Global Spectrum Senior VP/Business Development & Client Relations Frank Russo said that his firm “provided the estimate of event days and described it as a ‘conservative realistic number’ for financial projections.” Russo said, “We certainly feel the arena can be viable with 130-plus nights of activity, including some form of hockey -- whether it’s NHL or not remains to be seen” (TORONTO STAR, 8/21).

Miami building managers said that "several leases are in the works" to fill commercial spaces in the Marlins Park garages, "including a deal with an 8,500-square-foot Irish pub called The Tilted Kilt," according to Kathleen McGrory of the MIAMI HERALD. Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo made a pitch to create "an entertainment district in the city-owned parking garages that flank the stadium." Critics said that the plan "is a mismatch for Little Havana, a working-class residential neighborhood." Carollo "blames the sagging real estate market for stalling the leasing process." Carollo: "Plus we expected the Marlins to be doing a lot better going into the playoffs." McGrory noted the garages' leasing agent, Mindy McIlroy of the Terranova firm, is branding the project "The Shops at Marlins Park." Miami Parking Authority CEO Art Noriega, whose company manages the garages, said, "The plan was to really focus the leasing on more restaurant and entertainment venues. We want to make it more of an entertainment area than a grocery store area." Noriega also said that Miami is "in final lease negotiations with the Subway sandwich chain." Miami River Commission Chair and commercial real estate broker Horacio Stuart Aguirre "believes the garages will end up attracting an urgent care clinic or an immigration attorney because there is a market for those services in the neighborhood" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/20).

POLITICAL PUNCH: In Miami, Patricia Mazzei wrote the "incumbent Miami-Dade commissioners who defeated challengers backed by Norman Braman in last week's election had powerful friends" battling the wealthy Miami auto magnate, including the Dolphins and Marlins. Braman targeted four commissioners "up for reelection who voted for the $634 million Marlins ballpark." A union group "funded in part by the Dolphins and Marlins staged two protests at Braman's auto dealership and one near" his home (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18).