Superdome Commission Approves Resolution To Reduce Interest Rate On Bonds
The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District unanimously "approved a resolution at its monthly meeting Wednesday that reduces the interest rate on bonds used for capital improvements in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a move that will save the state of Louisiana significant money and increase the building's operating capital," according to Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. The LSED and "consequently the state, had been saddled with burdensome interest payments following the collapse of the bond market in 2008 because of the way in which a bond purchase was structured following Hurricane Katrina when about $336 million in improvements and repairs were needed" for the Superdome. SMG Senior VP/Stadiums & Arenas Doug Thornton said that the LSED's bond package will "now include a fixed interest rate." Thornton said that the state will still "hold $50 million of the debt." The new fixed interest rate will be "somewhere below 3.5 percent." Compared to the LSED's "current debt service, the group will save upwards of $1.5 million annually in interest payments." Thornton also "pointed to the building's renovation, long-term leases with" the Saints and Hornets to "restructure the teams' business model with the LSED, as well as the creation of Champions Square as primary factors in the group's economic stability." The LSED committee yesterday was told that New Orleans' hotel-motel tax, which "provides funding to operate the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, was headed toward an all-time high, further strengthening the complex's financial footing going forward" (NOLA.com, 1/16).
BORN ON THE BAYOU: In New Orleans, Mark Waller reported Super Bowl XLVII organizers gave a "final briefing on the massive event for New Orleans media Wednesday, covering highlights such as the $13.5 million the local hosting group raised to accommodate the production, the free riverfront festival that will include 49 bands, food from 17 restaurants and 12 parades and the array of public and private improvements and renovations timed to the extravaganza that total" an estimated $1.2B. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu "touted the road work, new streetcar line construction, Louis Armstrong International Airport improvements and private renovations by hotels, restaurants and other businesses." Officials said that of the money the committee raised, $6M "came from Louisiana state government and $7.5 million came from 27 corporate sponsors." Waller noted the Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard festival in the four days leading up to the game will "include dozens of Louisiana musical acts, dozens of dishes from local restaurants, a massive video gaming installation, the opportunity for fans to watch live television broadcasts from a set on the festival grounds and a feature that has grown popular in recent years at Super Bowls, the display of a towering Roman numeral monument for the game’s number, this time XLVII, with video images projected onto it and music playing." Festival Producer Quint Davis said that NFL officials "added a twist to the 101-foot-wide numeral display." They will display the numerals "on a barge in the river and their arrival will be heralded with fireworks." Super Bowl Host Committee co-Chairs James Carville and Mary Matalin yesterday tried to "enlist local news media in selling New Orleans to out-of-town colleagues." About 5,000 media reps are "expected in the city for the game" (NOLA.com, 1/16).