U.S. year ending review: New sports and entertainment arenas

December 30, 2013

Athletics, Business

U.S. year ending review: New sports and entertainment arenas

New NHL arena for the Detroit Red Wings wins financing approval

USA Today

DETROIT -The Detroit City Council today passed a pair of city ordinances — despite considerable public opposition — to advance a project for a new Red Wings arena near downtown.

However, the council put off until February voting on a third measure that would allow the transfer of city-owned land for the project. Council members said that by delaying acting on that measure it could leverage its pending approval to ensure the project proceeds to its satisfaction and to give the public more chances to have input.

The postponement means the project will come back next year before a significantly different group of council members. Five new members will take office in January.

The council did, however, agree to expand the Downtown Development Authority’s boundaries to include the arena project site. It also voted to amend the DDA’s tax increment financing plan to accommodate the project.

Several residents could not get into the meeting when it started at 9 a.m. at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building and were waiting in line. City Council President Saunteel Jenkins typically ensures that everyone gets an opportunity to address the council on a subject the body is considering.

“We all want this to happen,” Jenkins said. “It’s our job to make sure Detroiters are a part of that.”

The $450-million arena will be paid for with a mix of public and private money.

The DDA’s board approved an agreement last week for Olympia Development of Michigan — one of Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch’s companies — to operate the new arena.

The agreement, which allows Olympia to use the arena for up to 95 years, is a giveaway, said Jerry Belanger, who owns buildings that house Cliff Bell’s jazz club and Bucharest Grill.

“This isn’t just a single win for” Ilitch, Belanger said. “It’s a win for him for the next 100 years.”

Although he doesn’t expect opponents of the project to sway the council, Belanger said he has spoken with attorneys about filing a lawsuit on behalf of various business owners to halt the project.

“There could be several aspects of this contract that could be challenged as unconstitutional,” he said.

Bill McMaster, chairman of the Taxpayers United Michigan Foundation, attended a Thursday meeting at the Bucharest Grill and said the arena proposal violates the Headlee Amendment, approved by voters in 1978, which limits the amount of money the state spends every year.

The Michigan Strategic Fund, a state economic development organization, has agreed to issue $450 million in bonds to build the arena on the west side of Woodward just north of where I-75 crosses the northern edge of downtown.

To pay off the bonds over 30 years, the Detroit DDA has committed to pay at least $12.8 million a year from its tax increment financing revenues and about an additional $2 million annually from other tax increment revenues. Olympia Development of Michigan will pay $11.5 million a year until the bonds are paid off. No money from the city’s general fund will be used for the project, and Olympia will have naming rights for the new arena and will keep all revenues from the arena operations.

The arena, coupled with a planned, $200-million mixed-use development, is expected to create about 500 new jobs and about 8,300 construction jobs.
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Detroit New Olympia Stadium

Detroit New Olympia Stadium

Detroit New Olympia Stadium

Detroit New Olympia Stadium

Video: Could this be what the new Red Wings arena will look like?

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Video: Detroit Flyover new arena site

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Former NBA Player Proposes New Vegas Strip Arena

By Hannah Dreier
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS- A former National Basketball Association player wants to build a $1.3 billion arena and hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Jackie Robinson, a former UNLV player-turned Las Vegas businessman, said this week he expects to begin construction in the spring on the privately funded project near the renovated SLS Las Vegas hotel-casino and the idle Fontainebleau tower. It would open at the end of 2016.

The 22,000-seat stadium would be the second new arena on the tourist corridor. MGM Resorts International is building a similarly-sized project on the opposite side of the Strip, in partnership with sports and entertainment promoter AEG.

But Las Vegas is a town that revels in not knowing when to stop. The city is already set to get two new urban zip lines, as well as two oversized Ferris-style observation wheels.

“I think it’s the only place that’s going to have the Chicago Bears at one end and Beyonce at the other end, and an arena in both places. It’s a unique place—it’s not like Kansas City. It can support more than one event,” Robinson said.

Developers say the 863,000 square-foot arena will feature four levels, a retractable roof, and a nightclub, and will host basketball, hockey, boxing, rodeo events and concerts. Plans also call for 75 luxury boxes with a separate VIP entrance.

Robinson said an outdoor promenade with shops and restaurants will lead to a luxury hotel with 500 rooms and a wedding chapel.

“When you leave an arena, you go back to an empty parking lot and sit in traffic for two hours. I think it would be nice if you could go out from an arena and go directly from a nightclub or to a restaurant or do some shopping,” he said.

The arena is expected to cost $690 million, and the promenade and hotel are expected to cost $650 million. The Minneapolis-based firm Cunningham Group Architecture, Inc., is designing the project.

Robinson said the project will draw more locals than the MGM arena, and will be able to keep them on the property with dining and shopping options. He also said the arena will be able to attract conventions and large corporate meetings.

The $350 million MGM arena is expected to open in spring of 2016 between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo hotel-casinos.

Robinson played basketball at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and coach Jerry Tarkanian from 1973 to 1978. He played in the NBA from 1978 to 1982, with the Seattle SuperSonics, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls.

He later worked as a general contractor, hotel manager and airport concession owner. Robinson said the project will be financed with loans. He started working on the idea five years ago, but had to wait until the economy improved.

“We put everything on mothballs until things turned around,” he said. “I’ve played in several arenas — I’ve been around and I understand that it has to be an experience, not just an event.”

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Las Vegas Arena

Las Vegas Arena

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Video: Jackie Robinson talks about Las Vegas Strip arena

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NBA Kings and City of Sacramento agree to new arena terms

By Bob Moffitt
Capital Public Radio

The City of Sacramento no longer wants to sell 60 acres on and around the Haggin Oaks Golf Course to the development arm of the Sacramento Kings. The City has instead agreed to sell three downtown parcels to the Kings for about $3 million.

Assistant City Manager John Dangberg says the old Haggin Oaks sale was part of an agreement between the city and Ron Burkle – one of the original members of a group that agreed to help buy the Kings and build an arena.

‘We had a different developer as part of the team when this term sheet was negotiated,” says Dangberg. “They had a greater interest in freeway commercial development than our current team does. Our current team is more focused in on urban core development.”

The City has instead agreed to sell three downtown parcels to the Kings for about $3 million. The properties are the former Plaza building east of Cesar Chavez park, a vacant lot at 14th and H, and a retail building at Third and K streets.

The money from the sale of property counts towards the $38 million the Kings promised to the arena project.

The Kings have also agreed to hand over the deed to the site of the arena to the City of Sacramento.

Dangberg says instead of paying property tax, the Kings will pay a possessory interest tax. Dangberg says the two amounts are “generally equivalent.”

The Sacramento City Council will be asked to approve the new terms Tuesday night.

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Sacramento Arena Sacramento Arena
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Video: First draft released on impact study of downtown Sacramento arena

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Video: Initiative process put to test over Sacramento arena deal

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A look at alternative locations for NBA Warriors arena
Oakland’s Golden State Warriors moving to San Francisco

San Francisco Arena

John Coté
San Francisco Chronicle

A common refrain from opponents of the Golden State Warriors’ plan to build a $1 billion arena complex on San Francisco’s waterfront is: “We support an arena, just not on that site.”

Opponents of the team’s proposed 18,000-seat overwater arena on Piers 30-32 just south of the Bay Bridge – and condominiums, a hotel and retail space on a parking lot across the Embarcadero – say it’s just the wrong spot. An arena can not comply with the public trust doctrine governing waterfront development in the state, which requires public benefits and maritime use, and San Francisco has far better inland locations, opponents say.

The suggestions range from demolishing the historic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium or part of Moscone Center to having an arena replace Candlestick Park after it gets torn down in about a year.

Many of those alternative proposals are impractical at best, city officials say.

Tearing down Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, a Beaux Arts edifice built in 1915, would require all manner of government approvals to strip its landmark status, something Planning Director John Rahaim has never witnessed happen.

“That’s a tall order,” Rahaim said.

Such arguments don’t deter arena opponents.

“That’s like saying Candlestick is a landmark building,” scoffed Quentin Kopp, a retired judge and former city supervisor. “Civic Auditorium is nothing.”

And while city officials might balk at demolishing part of Moscone Center as a huge waste of money and a political nonstarter, those fighting the waterfront location note it could cost up to $170 million to rebuild Piers 30-32.

“You can build anything anywhere,” said Lawrence Stokus, a retired mortgage broker and arena opponent who rents an apartment across from the piers. “It’s just a question of whether you want to do it and pay for it.”

The city and the team are considering two other sites in the environmental impact report being prepared: Seawall Lot 337, which the Giants use as their main parking lot, and the site of the former Mirant Corp.-owned Potrero Power Plant.

City officials, though, say the best option is clear.

“There’s pretty broad agreement that a multipurpose venue like this is needed in the city,” said Ken Rich, Mayor Ed Lee’s director of development. “When you start looking at possible locations, and you take into account transit access, physical fit and the idea of not displacing future housing locations, Piers 30-32 rise quickly to the top of the list.”

It’s the most publicly vetted option and it has distinct advantages, including a waterfront location. Lee, who once referred to the arena as “my legacy project,” has likened the proposed venue to the Sydney Opera House.

Its proximity to transit and downtown are major advantages, and it would provide public access on a dilapidated pier that is now a parking lot. A lookout platform high on the arena would offer a new destination with sweeping views. Designers say the new pier would be seismically safe and meet sea-level-rise guidelines.

It’s also the location where the Warriors want to build, much of it on their own dime, and it would bring an NBA team – plus the benefits of an arena – to a city that has neither.

The up-front cost to the city would essentially be met by giving the team a 2.3-acre lot across the Embarcadero appraised at about $30 million a few years ago but now probably worth more, and use of the piers. All other city contributions for the development would come from revenue generated by the project, according to a tentative deal.

Rebuilding the piers could cost $170 million, and the city would be obligated to reimburse the Warriors up to $120 million from the project’s revenue, including the sale of the city-owned waterfront lot and annual rent credits on the pier of about $2 million. Costs for providing traffic officers, police, cleanup crews and expanded transit service during events have yet to be sorted out.

An arena 125 feet high would block Bay Bridge views from parts of the Embarcadero and for some neighbors. Rebuilding the piers by putting new pilings in the bay would be disruptive to the environment, although the old pilings would be removed.

Traffic in the area is already congested, and adding an 18,000-seat arena could create gridlock, especially when events coincide with a Giants game. The condo tower and hotel across the Embarcadero that are planned as part of the development would add congestion and occupy land that some opponents want used for affordable housing.

Transportation is both a great advantage and great disadvantage of the site.

It is less than a mile to BART, the Ferry Building, the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets and the planned Transbay Transit Center. Officials hope most people will take these methods and walk or use local transit the rest of the way to the arena. Pedestrians along the Embarcadero don’t have to worry about intersections. Muni already stops nearby, and new ferry and water taxi landings are planned for the arena site. The key would be increasing transit service, which requires money, and persuading patrons not to drive. A planned 500-space garage on the pier would be for VIPs only.

There are a number of other sites being proposed, each with their pros and cons:

Giants Parking Lot A / Seawall Lot 337
Pros: Once described by former Mayor Gavin Newsom as a “natural” fit for an arena, the site is near Caltrain and Muni stops. The under-construction Central Subway would provide transit from the Union Square area. The site wouldn’t entail building over water, which would alleviate much of the opposition from environmental groups. It has enough room to accommodate an arena, and the city owns it.

Cons: City has already signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Giants to develop the 16-acre site, and the team plans to essentially build a neighborhood there, including housing for 2,000 residents and office and retail for 7,000 workers. If the city backs out, that could get politically complicated. It would also mean less housing in a city that needs more, because Piers 30-32 couldn’t accommodate the type of high-rise development the Giants are proposing, including a mix of five or six buildings of varying heights, with two or three taller than 300 feet.

Transportation: Muni and Caltrain are close, but BART and ferries are significantly farther away. For cars, Interstate 280 is closer than it is to Piers 30-32.

Former Mirant power plant site, 1201 Illinois Street
Pros: Large enough to accommodate an arena. An arena would not displace housing, because none is planned for the site, which would require cleanup of soil contaminated by toxic chemicals.

Cons: Private company, NRG, owns the site and would have to agree to a deal. Distant from city center and transit options.

Transportation: Muni’s T-Third line runs nearby and Caltrain is fairly close, but no BART or ferry connections. Increases incentive to drive.

Candlestick Point / former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
Pros: Plenty of space for an arena. Could be an economic engine for the lower-income communities nearby.

Cons: Far from city center, making it impractical for conventions and other events. Poor transit access, forcing people into their cars. Placing it here would require renegotiating an agreement with the developer, Lennar Urban, and would displace housing planned for the site.

Transportation: Caltrain and a single Muni rail line are only somewhat close. No BART or other regional access. A bus rapid transit system for the planned housing, retail and other developments is years away from being started.

Caltrain station yard and surrounding area
(Different options, including area bounded by Berry, Hooper and Seventh streets)

Pros: Three blocks from Caltrain and Muni T-line. If I-280 overpasses are torn down, one proposal for channeling cars onto surface streets would funnel them right toward the possible arena site.

Cons: There isn’t room for an arena, and the city doesn’t control the site, including a proposed plot that is used by garbage and recycling collection company Recology. Other areas couldn’t fit an arena unless Caltrain tracks are reconfigured or placed underground, an expensive endeavor that at best is years away. Tearing down the I-280 off-ramps, which could improve car access to the site, is an expensive idea that may never happen.

Transportation: Close to Caltrain and Muni, but far from BART and ferries.

Moscone Center
(The area that includes the Children’s Creativity Museum, playground, carousel and Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center)

Pros: Downtown location in transit-rich environment.

Cons: Political outrage from residents over demolishing a playground and other frequently used children’s facilities in an area with few, although backers of this idea say the amenities could be rebuilt around and on top of an arena. Expensive engineering problem to demolish facilities and then build an arena on top of the underground convention space. Construction would force cancellation of conventions, which are vital to the city’s economy. About $1.8 billion in local economic activity comes from Moscone Center annually from conventions, including Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld, about one-fifth of the city’s tourism economy, according to city reports. City is already in the midst of a $500 million expansion of Moscone Center.

Transportation: Great access to Muni and BART lines on Market Street, as well as Central Subway and Transbay Transit Center. No ferry access. Cars would be problematic.

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Pros: Central Civic Center location in transit-rich environment. City owns the property.

Cons: While college basketball games have been played in the auditorium, the site is too narrow for a modern NBA arena. Demolishing a landmark Beaux Arts structure built in 1915 would cause an outcry from preservationists and require government approval.

Transportation: Close BART and Muni access. No ferry or Caltrain access. Long walk to Transbay Transit Center.

http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/A-look-at-alternative-locations-for-Warriors-arena-5099137.php

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San Francisco Arena

San Francisco Arena

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Video: Warriors sketches of proposed San Francisco Arena at waterfront

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San Francisco preliminary concept designs
Piers 30-32 on the waterfront site

San Francisco Arena

San Francisco Arena

San Francisco Arena

San Francisco Arena

San Francisco Arena

San Francisco Arena

U.S. year ending review: New sports and entertainment arenas

San Francisco Arena

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New Milwaukee NBA arena
The Wisconsin state Assembly’s Republican leaders discuss issues related to a new Milwaukee NBA arena and other Milwaukee cultural and recreational venues.
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Video: Republican leaders on new arena

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New Seattle arena for NBA/NHL

Seattle Arena

The proposed site for a future NBA/NHL arena in Seattle.

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