Any updates on the dome in general?
Published Friday, November 11, 2005 1:00 am
by By Dale M. King
The committee created to review proposals for a domed stadium and ?athletic innovation village? at Florida Atlantic University is ready to go one-on-one with the three firms interested in building the massive facility on the Boca Raton campus.
Meetings with the applicants are scheduled Nov. 21 starting about 8:30 a.m. in the Majestic Palm Room of the University Center. Company officials will be allowed 90 minutes for their presentations, with additional time for questions and answers.
The sessions are open to the public.
In preparation for the upcoming session, the review committee met Thursday and pored over summaries of the hefty documents. Randy Hanna, their legal advisor, discussed various funding methods that may be brought up during the Nov. 21 session.
All three plans received by the university include a 40,000-seat domed stadium to be built somewhere on campus. But one applicant, Global Development Partners (GDP), also offered up an ?Athletic Innovation Village? consisting of the stadium, a $130 million cancer research center, 2,500 student housing units, two hotels, a conference center, office and retail space, residential condominiums, rental property and parking garages.
The firm?s package ? considered the most expansive of all the proposals – also includes a museum that would be dedicated to the Army Airfield that was located on the property during World War II.
The bid from Innovative Development Partners (IDP) of Tampa says it will build a $117 million stadium with a ?tension-supported fabric roofed dome.? The firm would also build 694 housing units with 1,486 beds for students at a cost of $81 million.
Also planned are 1,000 surface parking spaces and 50,000 square feet of retail space. KUD International LLC of New York says in its bid it will work with FAU and the city of Boca Raton to determine what types of commercial businesses can use the site.
The summary distributed Thursday breaks down the bid into a 40,000-seat stadium, 200,000 square feet of ?undefined? retail space, parking for student housing and ?undefined? housing units.
In rating the three plans, the committee said IDP is the only proposal that includes a baseball stadium in addition to football arena. It is limited in scope, which fits the university?s master plan, and it also does not require donations or contributions from FAU other than event revenues.
Ownership and control of both the stadium and housing would revert to FAU upon retirement of the debt. In addition, surplus revenue would flow to the university.
Among the weaknesses of the plan, the committee said the retail portion of the project is not clearly defined. They also said if the housing generates only $300,000 to $400,000 a year, it may not be worth having an outside group build and manage it.
Like the IDP proposal, the plan from KUD also fits the university?s master plan. It also turns ownership and control of both the stadium and housing to FAU upon retirement of debt ? and surpluses flow to the university.
But the KUD proposal requires a donation of $10 million from FAU, it requires an exclusive negotiating period and earmarks all event ticket revenue to pay debt service. If there is any surplus at the end of each year, it would go to the university.
The committee found that the housing, retail and parking provisions in KUD?s plan are not well defined, and costs are unspecific.
The GDP proposal suffered from the same dearth of data, the panel said. The retail and parking portions are not defined adequately. Under this plan, FAU would get control of only the stadium when the debt is retired.
Also, GDP would demand that FAU secure naming rights and sell suites and premium seating.
The traffic generated by non-student housing on campus in this plan might have an adverse impact on the already crowded campus.
However, the review panel said the GDP plan would bring a major mixed-use project to the campus. The additional revenue sources would reduce the risk of paying the stadium costs. Use of general obligation revenues, they said, would lessen the burden on stadium revenues.
Hanna touched on three funding methods suggested in the plans:
*63-20, a system devised in 1963 that allows government units that normally cannot issue tax-exempt bonds to do so.
*DSO, or direct support organization. Hanna said the FAU Foundation, the Alumni Association, university boosters and groups like this are direct support organizations. They also can issue tax-exempt bonds.
*Creation of a Community Development District. This applies only to the GDP plan, which might use a ?mini-government? system that could levy property taxes or special assessments.
Dale M. King can be reached at 561-549-0832 or at [email protected]