Churchill Downs yesterday said that its "new grandstand seating near the Kentucky Derby starting gate will add 2,400 seats as part of" its $14.5M renovation project, according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. The board of Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. "approved the plans Monday." An earlier version of the plan -- then called the Rooftop Garden -- was "filed earlier this month with Louisville Metro planning, but Churchill officials declined to discuss it in detail." The project is being called "the Grandstand Terrace," while the Rooftop Garden portion of the project "will be a hospitality lounge area for VIP guests." Construction will begin tomorrow and is "expected to be ready for the Kentucky Oaks on May 2 and Kentucky Derby on May 3." CDI VP/Racing Communications John Asher said that all ticket prices, "including the new seats and existing grandstand seats that will benefit are still being finalized." Asher said that first-floor amenities "will be open to anyone." Second floor terrace amenities "will be open to second and third floor grandstand seat holders." The renovation "includes 51,000 square feet of new space located behind existing stadium seating." Track officials said that the new seating will be the "first addition to the second- and third- floors of the Grandstand in 60 years." The additional sections would "bring the permanent seating to 55,638" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 7/31).
The NBA Kings have signed int'l firm Turner Construction to "construct a new downtown arena," according to Ryan Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Turner would "begin building the new arena at the Downtown Plaza immediately upon finishing Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara next year." Turner VP & GM Dale Koger said that "key personnel working on Levi's Stadium will transfer to the Sacramento arena project when the football stadium is complete." Levi's Stadium is "scheduled to be finished next August," and Sacramento officials are "planning to break ground on the new Kings arena around the same time." Meanwhile, Sacramento is "conducting an environmental review" for the proposed $448M arena. The City Council has "tentatively approved" a $258M subsidy for the project -- "most of it from future parking revenues -- that would be finalized after the completion of the environmental review." Kings President Chris Granger said that he was "aware of a petition drive under way to place a measure on the June 2014 ballot that, if passed, would require voter approval of public subsidies of sports facilities." But he "shied away from criticizing the campaign" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/31). Koger said that Kings ownership is "in the process of selecting a design team for the arena, a process he expected to conclude in a couple weeks." In Sacramento, Ben van der Meer noted while Koger said that his company was "committed to delivering an on-time, on-budget project, he did not disclose the dollar amount of the contract his company signed" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/30).
In DC, Jeff Maurer wrote MLS club DC United's Buzzard Point stadium proposal "feels different because the mayor's office is heavily involved." This is Mayor Vincent Gray "identifying an economic development project to put on his resume as the next election approaches." Gray looks "foolish if this doesn't happen." He is "obviously betting that this will happen." Buzzard Point currently "seems to be a gravel pit next to a weed-growing facility," so this is "not exactly a historic neighborhood." But DC United "can't make money in RFK Stadium." As "long as that's true, we can expect to have teams cobbled together from the discount bin like this year's abomination" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/30).
PEACH PIT: In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz noted the Falcons now are seeking to build their new stadium on the site north of the current Georgia Dome because the south site "is no longer feasible." But many team officials "prefer the south site because it makes more sense for redevelopment." Schultz wrote, "Regardless of whether you believe redevelopment will actually take place as a result of stadium construction, the north property seems far less likely to spur that kind of area development than the south property." Neighborhoods north of the Georgia Dome have "seemed resistant to a new stadium being put there because of traffic and noise concerns, while doubting they’ll see any benefit from the construction." Schultz: "Either way, this isn’t shaping up as a great public relations venture for [Owner Arthur Blank], who certainly had hoped to avoid such obstacles" (AJC.com, 7/30).
WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE: On Long Island, Laura Figueroa notes Forest City Ratner Cos. "has amended its proposal" for Nassau Coliseum to say that it will "hire the Disney Institute to train all arena employees in customer service." Forest City "contracted with the Disney Institute, a professional development arm of the Walt Disney Company, to train some 2,000 employees at" Barclays Center when it opened last year (NEWSDAY, 7/31).
GROUND CONTROL: In Chicago, Kathy Bergen notes McCormick Place officials have "filed a lawsuit seeking to gain control of a Lakeside Bank property needed for the development" of a DePaul Univ. arena and an adjacent 500-room hotel. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, or McPier, filed a "'quick-take' eminent domain lawsuit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court." Such lawsuits allow a government to "take immediate possession of a property if the court finds there is adequate public use" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/31).