The Magic will pay the city of Orlando as much as $12.7M "for Orlando Police Headquarters and a public parking garage to make way" for a $100M entertainment complex, according to Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. City officials "caution that terms of the sale are still being negotiated, and some details will change." But the Magic "probably won't pay more than that and could pay less." The city paid "nearly three times that amount for the land where the Amway Center was built just across the street, but that was during the height of the real-estate boom." The Magic deal "carries about the same per-square-foot price as the property the city is buying two blocks west to build a soccer stadium." Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that many details "are still being negotiated but that the proposed price tag is 'a pretty fair price.'" The project is "important to Dyer's overall goal of developing a sports-and-entertainment district stretching from the Florida Citrus Bowl to the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and he wants it to be successful." The Magic have "not released a detailed plan for the development," but it "would include the team's corporate headquarters." The project also is expected to "include a hotel and conference center, garage parking, bars, restaurants, retail space and an outdoor festival plaza" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/20).
The Nationals yesterday "struck out" in their efforts to get Osceola County (Fla.) to "build a new $98 million spring training stadium for the team in Kissimmee," according to Dave Berman of FLORIDA TODAY. The Osceola County Commission voted 4-1 against building the stadium for the Nationals "primarily using money generated by the county’s tax on hotel rooms, deciding against delaying the decision further." Brevard County Commissioner Robin Fisher said that he plans to "meet with Nationals’ officials later this week in an effort to persuade them to stay" at Space Coast Stadium in Melbourne. There is a "question, however, about whether the Nationals would be interested in reconsidering their plans to leave Brevard." The Nationals had tried to "sweeten their offer to Osceola County by increasing their proposed annual rent payments and agreeing to add a $3-per-ticket surcharge, the proceeds of which would go to the county." But that "wasn’t enough to sway the commissioners" (FLORIDA TODAY, 8/20). In Orlando, David Breen notes Osceola County "reached out to the Nationals about a year ago" because the Astros, who have trained in Kissimmee since '85, are "expected to depart for a new two-team facility in Palm Beach Gardens when their lease at Osceola County Stadium expires" in '16 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/20).
The Sabres in July started the "first phase of a three-year, multimillion-dollar renovation of all 80 suites in the First Niagara Center," according to James Fink of BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST. The privately financed project is the "most extensive work done on the suites since the arena opened" in '96. The dark tones of the suites "will be replaced by the Sabres' blue-and-gold color scheme." About 26 suites are "being renovated now, with most expected to be ready by the team’s first home pre-season game Sept. 19." Work on the remaining 54 suites "will be done over the next two summers, depending on when the suites come up for renewal." The suites, designed by Sabres VP/Creative Services Frank Cravotta, will "feature new furniture and 50-inch flat-screen TVs." The Sabres logo "will be on one wall and the other will be decorated by the suite holder." Sabres VP/Sales & Business Development John Livsey said, "After 17 years, it was time to give the suites a more modern look and feel. We wanted them to feel like fun" (BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST, 8/16 issue).
Ottawa residents are "finally getting some idea of the massing of buildings" in Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group's C$300M Lansdowne Park redevelopment project for the CFL RedBlacks, according to Jon Willing of the OTTAWA SUN. The southside stands "have taken shape and steel supports are going up in the retail and residential areas." The stadium is on schedule to open in June for the CFL season, and at that time the "exteriors of the retails building will be done, the Vibe condo tower at Holmwood Ave. and Bank St. will be enclosed and the Rideau tower near the Bank St. bridge will be under construction." OSEG has "set up a temporary executive and team operations headquarters on Industrial Rd. near the Trainyards." The company's marketing team has "taken over an old liquor store at Shoppers City East on Ogilvie Rd. where it will open a 'customer preview centre' next month for more than 10,500 football fans who have committed to buying Ottawa RedBlacks tickets for the 2014 season." OSEG plans to "announce results of its selection process for a food and beverage operator" around that same time. OSEG CEO Bernie Ashe said, "Sponsorship right now is a big priority for me." He added, "We're very encouraged by the reaction we have received so far. What we have, we think, is truly unique. We have a destination within our city where this is more than a sports stadium or a hockey arena." Major retailers "announced so far have included Whole Foods, Sporting Life and Empire Cinemas." Ashe said, "Our retail leasing program is on track and all being done within the guidelines approved by council." OSEG is "hiring sales and marketing reps and a building general manager." Ashe said that the company "still has to hire 60-75 full-time employees and up to 200 part-time staff" (OTTAWA SUN, 8/19).
Browns CEO Joe Banner is hopeful a recently completed $5M renovation to team HQs in Berea "will ultimately make it easier to attract top players and executives to transform the Browns from doormat to an NFL power," according to Jeff Schudel of the Willoughby NEWS-HERALD. More than one-third of the 90,000-square foot building "was upgraded and modernized into a brighter more wide open spacious facility with white as the dominant color, cubicles in the main section and murals of famous Browns and quotes by famous people on the walls." The facility contains "60 offices and 90 work stations and now houses 68 additional employees who had been working in FirstEnergy Stadium." Banner said, "Whether it's a coach or somebody in the business area, somebody in enhancing fan experience, I think we're going to be in a position to attract and keep them. I think it's important to be thought of as an organization that has an owner willing to put the money up to run a first-class organization." He added that the $5M investment "with no financial return represents team owner Jimmy Haslam's commitment to the Browns" (Willoughby NEWS-HERALD, 8/20).
INSPIRATIONAL WORDS: In Ohio, Mike McLain notes quotes attributed to U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson "are painted on the orange walls of the modern, spacious complex." The words of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell and others "seem to be at every turn of the hallway that winds through rows of desks and offices." One quote in particular "is Banner's favorite." It is "unique in its source and its deviation from the central theme: 'A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.' -- Willy Wonka." Banner led a media tour of the facility yesterday "with the pride of a young boy showing off his baseball card collection." He even "dared to take his visitors into the 'war room.'" But making the moment "awkward was seeing Browns general manager Michael Lombardi and a few of his personnel hard at work." Lombardi seemed "almost stunned that Banner would include the war room on the tour." What was "learned from the brief tour was the value that Haslam and Banner place on camaraderie and employee satisfaction from a work place that can be described as inviting and worker friendly." It seems that Haslam "will spare no expense to provide an environment that's conducive to an improved work ethic" (Warren TRIBUNE CHRONICLE, 8/20).
DRUMMING UP EXCITEMENT: In Cleveland, Glenn Moore noted the Browns are "trying hard to improve the team on the field," and they also are "trying to improve the experience for the fans." The team announced back in July it was "enhancing the gameday experience for fans in and round FirstEnergy Stadium." One element is "adding a drumline, something nearly half of the NFL teams already include." The drumline will "be used before the game entertaining fans in parking lots and tailgating." The drummers will then "be seen and heard inside the stadium during the game." The Browns said that the drumline "will be ready to go for the first regular season game" against the Dolphins on Sept. 8 (CLEVELAND.com, 8/19).
In San Jose, Mike Rosenberg in a front-page piece notes construction crews at Levi’s Stadium are “more than halfway done and two weeks ahead of schedule.” The seats, scoreboard and playing field will “start going in during the next few months, and the interior -- from the concession stands to the bathrooms to the locker rooms -- is already taking shape.” Santa Clara officials and the 49ers have spent $556.6M on the $1.3B project, which is “now considered 56 percent complete in terms of time and budget” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/20).
ART CLASS: In K.C., Alice Thorson notes paintings and sculptures which now adorn Arrowhead Stadium “were commissioned under the Chiefs Art Program, which aims to fill the stadium with art from regional artists.” Roughly a year after the program “put out a call for artists, the first nine pieces have been installed on the Scout Investments Club Level; two more will be up by the end of the month.” Sharron Hunt Munson, the daughter of team Founder Lamar Hunt, is in charge of the program and “sets themes and parameters for pieces commissioned for specific locations in the stadium” (K.C. STAR, 8/20).
THE LADYKILLERS: In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow noted as part of $24M in recently completed upgrades to M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens have expanded four team stores at the venue "to include more female-centric apparel.” Ravens Retail Dir Chris Inouye said that the renovated stores, now 30% larger in space, will include 50% “more women’s styles than they had in the past.” Inouye: “Youth and women are the fastest-growing (retailing) segments.” The Ravens also have “made a push to grow their female fan base by creating a club called ‘Purple.’” The women’s club “holds annual events exclusively for female Ravens fans such as ‘A Purple Evening’” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/19).