A Boston development team “wants to build a pair of towers in front of TD Garden that could reach 600 feet in height, creating a gateway for the arena with stores and restaurants, 500 residences, offices, and a 200-room hotel,” according to Casey Ross of the BOSTON GLOBE. The project, by Delaware North Cos. and Boston Properties, would “dramatically reshape the area around the Garden and North Station.” At 1.7 million square feet, it would be “among the largest developments in the city, adding shopping, dining, and living options to an iconic sports property.” The developers on Thursday “submitted an outline to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.” They must undergo a “monthslong review process but indicated they hope to start construction early next year.” Construction is “planned to unfold in phases.” Bruins and Delaware North Principal Charlie Jacobs, who “declined to provide a price tag for the project, said the work would start with the retail base and a new glass concourse into the Garden.” Next would come “the offices, hotel, and residences, situated in separate towers over the retail shops.” The development would “cover the bland, gray facade of the Garden and update the site with fresh architecture and amenities” (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/17).
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday in conjunction with DePaul Univ. officially announced plans for a new $173M, 10,000-seat arena that will "serve as the home floor" for the school's men's and women's basketball teams, according to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com. Construction on the facility, which will be built across the street from McCormick Place, is "scheduled to begin in 2014, and the school is hoping to open in time for the 2016-17 season." The school will "pay rent at the building but will retain naming rights and permanent internal and external signage space." The new arena is "just one part of Emanuel's $1.1 billion 'Enhance Chicago' tourism and trade show infrastructure revitalization effort, a wave of planned redevelopment that will include nearby hotels, bars, restaurants and other entertainment." Those plans also include a $278M "update to the city's iconic Navy Pier tourist attraction, among other lakefront changes." DePaul has been "playing its home games at Allstate Arena" in Rosemont, Ill. since '80, and will play the '13-14 season on a "renewable one-year contract" with the facility (ESPN.com, 5/16). Emanuel said that having an arena will "enable the city to win small- to midsize conventions and meetings that now take a pass on the city." Leib Advisors Principal Bob Leib agreed that the size of the proposed arena may "fill a niche for Chicago, bringing in events that would otherwise be priced out of the market." Leib projected that it would "take about 125-plus bookings per year to break even, something that could be achieved within two or three years." Univ. of Texas-San Antonio professor Heywood Sanders said, "There is absolutely no evidence that arena facilities make a difference in the performance of convention centers" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/17).
PADDING THE COFFERS: In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti reports DePaul plans to "raise its share of funding through ticket sales, private donations -- with several major donors already committed and to be announced soon, through increased revenues that will come from the new television rights deal for the new Big East and Fox television, and through naming rights." Those rights will "include the facility itself as well as internal naming options for suites, some seats and locker rooms." DePaul will "get longterm tenancy in the arena with 30 dates for its men’s and women’s basketball teams, practice time and school graduations." DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider said that the school "considered the offer" from Bulls and White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz, who co-own the United Center, though it was "ultimately unworkable because of the lack of playing dates and practice times and for graduations" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/17). In Chicago, Fran Spielman reports McPier officials, whose agency owns McCormick Place, "pegged annual operating costs at $3.7 million and estimated that the rent and non-logo-related concessions from DePaul games -- which go to McPier -- would cover one-third of that" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/17).
DEAL DOUBTER: In Chicago, John Kass asks, "Why push for a DePaul basketball arena at McCormick Place?" That is "nowhere near the DePaul campus," and students would "have to take public transportation or drive, and then shell out cash to park." Kass writes of Emanuel's plan to build a casino in the city, "I don't think this has anything to do with basketball. Rahm needs that basketball arena as a music venue to make the casino work" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/17). A CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial states Navy Pier and McCormick Place are the "twin engines of Chicago's tourism business," and the improvements announced by Emanuel with his "Elevate Chicago" plan are "crucial to the city's ambitions." But the arena is a "somewhat tougher sell." It is "clearly a good deal for DePaul," but "what do Chicago taxpayers get?" McPier CEO Jim Reilly estimated that the arena would "break even in its first year and net $1 million by year five." DePaul would "book the venue for 17 home games for its men's team and another 10 for the women's team, plus practices, graduation and other events." Emanuel stressed that the city also would "have use of the facility for school and sports events." The editorial: "If the venue is going to pay for itself, though, it's going to need a calendar crowded with bigger ticket events" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/17).
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday proposed a "bailout" of the Vikings' new $977M stadium by raising taxes on smokers and closing a loophole for businesses as a "hedge against the limited success of electronic gambling games that were supposed to help build the sports palace," according to a front-page piece by Jim Ragsdale of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans said that the state's $348M contribution to the stadium could be "guaranteed by raising the cigarette tax on existing inventories to obtain $24.5 million of revenue in the first year." That would be "coupled with a long-term, $20 million-per-year capture of revenue from what Frans described as the closure of a corporate 'tax avoidance loophole.'" The new plan is "needed because electronic pulltab and bingo games selected last year to pay for the state’s portion of the downtown Minneapolis stadium have fallen far short of projections." Frans said that the cigarette revenue would "give the project an immediate boost," while the corporate tax change would be "available in the future, should game revenue continue to underperform." Frans: "We believe it’s reliable, it’s consistent and we know over time it’ll be there." The plan was "accepted in principle by those legislators writing the tax bill." The stadium announcement is "part of the deal making in the final days of the session" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/17).
PLANNING AHEAD: Frans said that the new revenue Dayton is proposing "already was in the budget plans of the House, the Senate and Dayton himself." In St. Paul, Doug Belden notes the new part is the "revenue would be directed toward stadium construction." Frans said that "because it's all 'new money,'" it "doesn't violate the governor's pledge that general fund money would not be used to pay for the stadium." Dayton "raised his proposed cigarette tax Thursday to $2.52 per pack." Frans said that this would "yield a stocking fee of about $24.5 million." Frans added that the $24.5M would be "used to eliminate" an estimated $12M deficit "in the stadium reserve the next two years and be available for future needs" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/17).
Rexall Place operator Northlands President & CEO Richard Andersen said that the new [C]$480M Oilers arena deal in Edmonton does "not toll a death knell for the organization but it could still mean the end of an era." In Edmonton, Angelique Rodrigues notes though he "wouldn’t say much more than that on Rexall Place itself, Andersen made it clear Northlands can survive without the ageing arena." Many have "speculated this renders Rexall Place irrelevant but Andersen has maintained there is room for two arenas in Edmonton" (EDMONTON SUN, 5/17).
MUSIC CITY MATCH: In Nashville, Michael Cass noted the Triple-A PCL Nashville Sounds and city Mayor Karl Deans have "agreed to a three-year lease extension at Greer Stadium" that would "extend the lease at the city-owned stadium through the end" of '16. John Triggs, an adviser to the Sounds’ owners, said that they would "approach the administration 'when the time is right.'” Triggs said the team is not for sale, “and we’ve made that clear to a couple of people very recently" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/16).
RENOVATION PLANS: Univ. of Alabama AD Bill Battle said that plans for a "renovated or new baseball stadium are being discussed." He added that the "timetable for an improved baseball facility is two to five years." In Birmingham, Don Kausler notes Battle was asked if he was "satisfied with the 45-year-old Coleman Coliseum as a long-term basketball venue." Battle said, "I think the answer's yes" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 5/17).