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Volume 25 No. 175

Facilities

The Univ. of Texas has "struck an innovative financial agreement" with Oak View Group in which the school will get a $300M basketball arena with "zero out-of-pocket cost," according to Brian Davis of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. The UT System Board of Regents is "set to approve a measure Thursday that will mark the school’s official marriage" with OVG. UT will turn the 6.64 acres just south of Mike A. Myers Stadium over to OVG in a lease arrangement, and OVG "will build and manage the arena, giving UT approximately 60 dates annually for men’s and women’s basketball games, graduations and other school-related functions." Upon completion, UT "will own the building." However, OVG "will recoup its investment by keeping the revenue generated, including things such as concessions, for 10 years." After the first decade, UT "will get a portion of the annual revenue." At most, UT "will have to pay for some incidentals, possibly concerning traffic and utilities." But OVG "will shoulder the bulk of the cost." UT President Greg Fenves said, “This is an innovative deal that will be good for the city and the university.” A source said that the basketball configuration "will be about 10,000 seats with the upper decks closed off for every game, creating an 'intimate' atmosphere." The new arena’s total capacity "could reach 17,000, making it a suitable replacement for the 41-year-old Erwin Center." OVG is "expected to bring concerts, WWE events and whatever else comes through downtown Austin to the new facility" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/18).

Construction on Allianz Field is 95% complete, as the "vast majority of the exterior work is wrapped up," and the only things left are the "final quality checks," according to Jeff Rueter of THE ATHLETIC. The framework of Minnesota United's new stadium is "fully established, the seats are installed and the grass has taken root in its permanent home." Mortenson Construction Exec Greg Huber said, “We’re in the phase right now where we’re doing a lot of testing. Most of the raw construction is being completed at this point. We’re finishing at the suite level and club level." Rueter wrote Minnesota United accomplished a "fairly remarkable achievement by modern stadium building history" because the team "stuck to its initial renderings." Minnesota United Owner Bill McGuire said, “We’ve been very careful about testing and planning with the placement of our cameras. We’ve done a lot of sun studies both for the grass as well as what could be in somebody’s eye at any given time. The roofline is designed to help lower the light on the east side for people looking west.” McGuire and team Exec VP & CRO Bryant Pfeiffer feel that the stadium's "east sideline’s second deck boasts the consensus best seats in the house." A major point of emphasis during the initial construction phase was that the "seating would be built up, not out." By keeping the levels at a "similar plane, even the second level keeps a close proximity to the playing field" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/17).

On Long Island, Scott Eidler notes the Nassau County Legislature has "approved a plan and a lease amendment" giving BSE Global, the operator of the NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum and the project's master developer, "exclusive rights to propose building on the 72 acres of vacant blacktop surrounding the arena." The approval was a "critical first step in the process of realizing" a $1.5B "proposed vision for a 'new suburbia' known as the Nassau Hub in Uniondale" (NEWSDAY, 12/18)

WE CAN WORK IT OUT: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said that she believes Pimlico Race Course "can be demolished and rebuilt without temporarily relocating the Preakness Stakes." In Baltimore, Luke Broadwater noted Pugh "agrees with the Maryland Stadium Authority’s suggestion" that a $424M rebuild of the track is needed. However, she "believes the demolition and construction can be done in phases in order to the keep the Preakness" in the Park Heights area (BALTIMORE SUN, 12/15).