Cumulative Reno Aces Ball Park Deal Update

1/14/09 - SK BASEBALL PRESENTS PHASE 2 PLANS TO COUNCIL, ASKS FOR ASSISTANCE - Stuart Katzoff and his son went before the city council today to present their plans for Phase 2 of the Reno Aces ballpark, and ask the city council to consider assisting them in making phase 2 happen more rapidly by guaranteeing more sales tax revenue.
Stuart started to speak, and was abruptly cut off by Mayor Cashell who simply and pointedly asked "Let me ask you one question, are you gonna finish the baseball stadium?" That prompted Katzoff to dispel rumors and media reports that this has to do with the actual ballpark itself. That deal is done, the stadium is being built, and no additional money is being asked for that.
The developers want to add 64,000 s.f. of restaurant/night club space and an elevated plaza that connects to the baseball stadium. Citing rising construction costs and a stalled credit market, Katzofff asked the City Council to ponder assisting them with this portion of the project by guaranteeing more property tax revenue from the new development once built. Their hope is to build entertainment plaza in front of entrance to stadium, 3 restaurants, 2 of which would enter directly into stadium. There is also an elevated plaza accessible by escalator which will connect the venues together on an upper level as well and overlook into the baseball park. IMO, the addition of this as pictured below adds a much needed dimension to the ballpark that makes it more appealing for both ball games and additional off-season events and concerts.
Stadium seating arrives February 2nd. Click picture below to see full plan.

1/14/09 - SK BASEBALL RESPONDS TO MEDIA REPORTS - Their press release - "SK Baseball is currently working with Reno City Council to seek assistance in financing the much-anticipated downtown entertainment district, which will include three restaurants, three nightclubs and an outdoor events plaza in front of the stadium. The discussions with City Council are not related to the epicenter of the project, a state-of-the-art ballpark, because finances are already secure for the stadium, and the ballpark will be ready for Triple-A Baseball on its scheduled opening date of April 17.Given the existing credit and overall economic climate in the country, financing is not available through traditional means. Thus, SK Baseball is asking the City to support its efforts to ensure the entertainment district is opened efficiently and to the highest quality.  

“Since we’ve compiled a tremendous construction team to build the stadium, and much of the infrastructure for the entertainment complex has already been built, it only makes logical sense to continue and complete the entertainment complex at this time,” said SK Baseball Managing Partner Stuart Katzoff. “It’s a clear economies of scale issue.”

1/13/09 - SK BASEBALL TO FACE COUNCIL - First, note that for those of you who watch online or on cable or plan on attending tomorrow City Council Meeting, the redevelopment agency portion of the meeting has been moved to 10 a.m. Let's take a look at Item B.5 - B.5 Staff Report: Discussion, direction and approval of possible agreements between the City of Reno Redevelopment Agency, SK Baseball, LLC, and Nevada Land, LLC, regarding the development of the AAA Baseball Stadium, to allow for an increase to the Payment Agreement Tax Increment Payment in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000) per year, with a minimum guarantee from the Redevelopment Agency of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000). RGJ is reporting that this is for the expanded entertainment buildings which includes 3 restaurants, 3 night clubs and an entertainment plaza. So what are your thoughts on this?

Comments:

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Posted by: Danny - 1/13/2009 5:50:38 PM
DO IT! In these times where they are agreeing to have all these places open within 24 months is huge. These means people will WANT to stick around downtown... have fun, drinks, meals, and shop a little. Ultimately creating a flowing economy... which is hard to find in Reno period... not just in hard economical times. The city would be fools to kick this out... sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Plus the company has shown how hard they are working to get this going by building a full stadium right on pace... the city needs to keep working with these guys. Right now this is the only thing working positively in downtown... and it gives us something until this "Teserra" project takes off.

Posted by: Bugsy - 1/13/2009 7:20:52 PM
3 night clubs? Thats too many night clubs in that small concetrated area...sport bars maybe. sports fans who go to the bars before and after the games are different from the clubbies.

Posted by: urbanblog - 1/13/2009 8:55:54 PM
The City is into this for $18MIL in property tax rebates over a 20 year period and just had to borrow money from the sewer fund to meet its obligations to the RTC which would in turn help it meet its obligations to the developer of the baseball entertainment district. Those are the breaks, and it's understandable that the baseball developers would want to get moving on this second phase of the development which I assume is for the Mizpah block. In that case I'm not adamantly opposed to subsidies to get the second phase underway ASAP as the combined district will be a great draw for the downtown area but the terms of the agreement should be opened up with clear milestones identified for when the citicenter property would be turned over to the baseball developers based on economic conditions at the time (primarily related to the credit market) and performance of the second phase. By asking The City to put up in essence "good faith" money to help secure financing, The City is being brought in as an equity stakeholder, a highly leveraged one at that, and consequently deserves a little bit of leverage of its own. The baseball developers have shown no reason for distrust. That ballpark is well on its way to being completed in time. But with this new financial ask from the developers, The City is being put into a position greater than that of enabler, which is that of financier. Since this represents a change in terms of the arrangement as was agreed upon, the whole thing needs to be opened up to provide some indemnity for The City. Just my opinion of course.

Posted by: Wiley_n_Reno - 1/13/2009 9:16:59 PM
Did anyone else read the comments on the RGJ website when they reported the REQUEST of the additional funding was made known? WOW! The reaction was incredibly vicious. Perhaps the ballpark-area plan is too ambitious in these times but the anger and whining of the people was scary. Seems to them that anyone trying to help or make Downtown Reno better is a criminal and trying to rip them off! It's amazing the bad attitudes about their own city these people have! They seem to think that extra-terrestrial aliens are going to shoot a Gamma ray froma a spaceship at Downtown Reno and it will magically be like Oz or something.

Posted by: DowntownRenoFan - 1/13/2009 11:00:03 PM
The stadium has a public benefit. The private development of the restaurants & night clubs do not. This phase of the project is having difficulty with financing because everyone underwriting them knows this market is SATURATED with retail space. This will do nothing but add more space or, worse, displace 3 other restaurants and 3 other nightclubs around downtown. This phase of the project should be financed privately or not at all.

Posted by: Mark W. - 1/14/2009 8:47:55 AM
DowntownRenoFan, how does a ballpark serve the public more than a restaurant? It is a business, just the same as a restaurant, shop, or other privately-owned, for-profit entity. Granted the public image of Reno may benefit from the presence of a high-quality sports facility such as the baseball field and stadium, but there are people (myself included) who don't really enjoy the game of baseball and will appreciate a place that is developed in a diverse manner. More variety in the tenants of the retail/commercial aspects of the stadium project will bring in business all the time, not just during a game (or during the season in general). Who knows, the presence of a few great places to have a meal or a drink might even get me into a seat in the ballpark! I think Bugsy has a really good point about the density of 3 restaurants and 3 nightclubs - come on and bring in some other ideas, there's a LOT of restaurants and clubs in Reno and there's plenty of room for other ideas. What about a small grocery store like the Downtown Marketplace? A niche shop like Dharma Books or similar? There's a lot of cool niche (and not-so-niche) markets in Reno to be catered to but all most developers ever seem to come up with in new projects is "Oh, let's put in some restaurants!" I hope there is a solution available that can accomodate the next phase of work without drastically changing the terms of the project contract. That would be a terrible shame.

Posted by: DowntownRenoFan - 1/14/2009 9:26:32 AM
Reno is much better off with a $60 million nice multi-functional ball field near the river than a modified $20 million version of one that the economics of AAA baseball in a 400K population community can support. I am all in favor of us subsidizing this, maybe not to the extent we did but to some modified version, to have an upgrade. I consider the stadium the public benefit. Outside that footprint, I do not distinguish the baseball owner's real estate holdings (which have had a pretty nice economic bump) from those of Basin Street across the street, the Waterfall tower folks, and Silver Star's Grant's Landing project. All of those are adjacent to this great new heavily subsidized asset. If these land owners want to do something with their land, do it just like any other land owner downtown. The market says we do not need ANY development right now. I suggest we listen to the market rather than artificially influencing it with government spending on private assets that will simply make the saturation issue worse.

Posted by: MedRenoMan - 1/14/2009 9:56:14 AM
I know some people say the market does not need development downtown. That may be true, however, the only way to change the market is by developing. I think they go hand in hand. We can change the perception of downtown, increase the flow of money to that corridor, and create jobs which we desperately need. In this time of economic crisis, we cannot sit idly by and wait for things to improve. We have to be pro-active and support projects that will stimulate our local economy and create jobs.

Posted by: DowntownRenoFan - 1/14/2009 10:23:54 AM
I whole heartedly support community investment in infrastructure projects that have a true community benefit. I also support limited community investment in private projects that have a true community benefit. I do not believe it is the job of our civic leaders to hand out community subsidies (especially ones we do not have) to private land owners for private projects in a discriminatory fashion. Here's an idea I support: across the board- anyone in downtown who has a boarded up weekly or struggling weekly hotel, commerical property, or operation that just does not make sense, we'll give you a 5 year property tax holiday right now if you demo your building.

Posted by: doofus - 1/14/2009 6:18:55 PM
I watched the meeting. Did you catch Cashell's opening question? "Are you guy's going to finish the (baseball) stadium?" I don't feel qualified to comment on if the bond guarantee request is legitimate under the original development agreement. But I was shocked that this proposal has been coming up through the staff review process and the entire city council acting as the Redevelopment Commission seemed like deer in the headlights. Don't they know the terms of the original agreement? Don't they take a look at upcoming agenda items and educated themselves a bit? Why hasn't RK at least informally notified the council of their request? Devcon has done a superb consturction management job on the stadium construction. My dad was a Durham Bull, and I know how much fun the minor league product can be. I'll be there for the Reno Ass's opening day drinking a beer and wearing a logo T-shirt.

Posted by: urbanblog - 1/14/2009 9:34:45 PM
That's phase 2? That's the uh. Darndest thing. I'd have thought that was part of phase 1.

Posted by: DowntownMakeoverDude - 1/15/2009 7:53:21 AM
I dont know if its officially called Phase 2...I am just calling it that because the ballpark will be bult with or without this addition...so it makes sense to label it as an additional phase. I agree with you though Ken, I thought this portion would have been built with the ballpark, and Phase 2 was actually the parcels across Evans where the Mizpah once stood.

Posted by: RampMedia - 1/24/2009 8:58:37 AM
Downtown Makeover Dude - I'm a longtime fan of your site...great job. My 2 cents...I hope one of the restaurants near the ballpark is a brew pub like Gordon Biersch or even BJs Brewhouse. The BJs at Summit Sierra seems to always be busy so a ballpark location would likely keep people coming into the area year round.

 

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