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Volume 25 No. 155

Facilities

Renderings of the proposed ballpark show a venue with views of Mt. Hood and the Williamette River
Photo: portland diamond project

The effort to bring an MLB team to Portland "passed an early milestone Thursday when backers said they'd settled on a site for a new ballpark: Terminal 2 , the expansive marine cargo site in an industrial district northwest of the Fremont Bridge," according to Elliot Njus of the Portland OREGONIAN. The group "released sketches that show a ballpark with a retractable roof and a gondola." However, much "remains unknown: the terms of the agreement between the Port of Portland and the Portland Diamond Project for the property," what backers would pay to use Terminal 2 and who has "agreed to foot the multibillion-dollar costs." The transaction for the Terminal 2 property would be "structured as a long-term lease, with the Portland Diamond Project acting as master developer for the site." The announcement came just days ahead of MLB's winter meetings in Las Vegas, which PDP partners "will attend to promote a Portland franchise." The group has named some investors -- including Seahawks QB Russell Wilson -- and would tap up to $150M in "state-issued bonds that would be paid back with income taxes from team salaries." The ballpark would likely "need millions more to compete but group leaders have declined to release further details." Renderings of the proposed ballpark, created by Populous and TVA Architects of Portland, show a venue "with views of Mount Hood, the Willamette River and the Fremont Bridge" (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/30).

U.S. Bank Stadium will host four basketball games over the weekend as a "prelude" to the Final Four in April, giving venue operator SMG some "early clues on how the building's lights and acoustics, scoreboards, locker rooms and seating will perform for basketball," according to a front-page piece by Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The U.S. Bank Stadium Basketball Classic is the venue's first basketball event. The NCAA "requires the host venue to hold at least one basketball game in advance of March Madness." Neither the NCAA's "massive center-hung scoreboard nor the stadium's custom darkening curtains will be in place this weekend." Meanwhile, attendance this weekend is "expected to be about 15,000 fans on each night." The "marquee event" features the Univ. of Minnesota taking on Oklahoma State at 9:00pm CT Friday (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/29).

In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis notes work on a stadium master plan and environmental impact statement is "scheduled to commence" next month for a successor to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Hawaii Dept. of Accounting & General Services officials said that there is an "agreement in principle with an as-yet-unannounced firm chosen for the project, with work expected to begin when the contract is executed 'in the coming weeks.'" The legislature has appropriated $10M to "finance the studies aimed at finalizing a site for a facility to replace" the 44-year-old Aloha Stadium (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 11/30).

MINIMIZING FOOTPRINT: In Newark, Brent Johnson notes the NWSL Sky Blue FC is "pulling its support of a proposed Ocean County sports complex that may have housed its new stadium, hours after environmentalists voiced outrage, especially with how developers plan to cut down thousands of trees." Sky Blue is listed as a "partner in Trophy Park, a 200-acre site proposed for a tract of land" in Jackson, N.J., near a Six Flags amusement park. Developer Allen Nau said that Sky Blue was in "'tentative' talks to rent space at the 200-acre site to house its headquarters there, use the facilities for practice, and play its home games at the complex's 6,000-seat stadium" (NJ.com, 11/30).

LOCAL BACKING: In Ottawa, Andre Marin wrote when Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk "planned a new 18,000-person arena actually close" to downtown Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson and the National Capital Commission "should have pulled out all the stops to make it happen." Instead, the NCC "threw all the red tape it could find at Melnyk, while Watson and his troops stayed on the sidelines." It is time for Watson to "grow a spine and back up Melnyk, who remains committed to the downtown area, but not at all costs" (OTTAWA SUN, 11/29).