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Proposals for FAU domed stadium to be heard Nov. 21

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]
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Top-notch FAU stadium pivots on high finance
By Kimberly Miller

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

BOCA RATON ? A 40,000-seat domed stadium could turn around Florida Atlantic University's commuter reputation with a self-contained village of restaurants, dry cleaners, hair salons, banks and even residential homes so students and professors would never have to leave campus or have a car.

But the price tag of the state-of-the art campus and football stadium, which three national developers pitched Monday, was the main topic of discussion as builders and FAU officials asked how it would be paid for.

Cost estimates for the stadium ranged from $108 million to $125 million. Adding dormitories and retail space raised the bill by as much as $80 million.

Committee members charged with reviewing the proposals hope to make a decision by early next year on whether a stadium is a possibility for FAU. If approved, the stadium could be built by 2008 or 2009.

"You have to have guarantee revenue streams to get bonds," said David LeFevre, president of New York-based Beacon Sports Properties, who presented a proposal from Innovation Development Partners. "It doesn't have to be a guarantee from the university, but it does have to be a guarantee from somewhere."

Because Florida Atlantic University's football team is new, still has provisional Division 1A status and can't promise huge game-day ticket sales, lenders would look for other promised paybacks. Those could include naming rights, the sale of stadium box seats, hosting big-name entertainers or getting other tenants such as Major League Soccer or arena football to rent the stadium.

Timothy Kissler, director of Virginia-based Global Development Partners, promised a risk-free investment for FAU, saying his group would take on all financial responsibilities through a Community Development District.

In return, the group would keep the profits of ticket sales, retail rental fees and dorm costs for about 30 years, when the stadium would revert to the university.

But Kissler is counting on paying for the stadium, in part, by getting a portion of the state sales tax revenue generated by the stadium.

That could require the legislature to pass a special bill for FAU.

Kissler's plan also includes private homes on campus that can be rented or sold, which he said strengthens the guarantee payback for lenders.

"We want to make this a self-sufficient campus with retail business that would become a destination," Kissler said. "Right now you have a totally commuter campus."

But FAU representatives said under Kissler's plan they would have to give up most of the control over the "athletic village" for up to three decades.

"They said no risk to the university, but no control by the university either," said Randy Hanna, an FAU consultant. "It's all a policy question on what you can get financed and how much you're willing to risk."

FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos asked consultants to put together a summary of the three groups' proposals ranked by financial risk to the university. The committee will meet again via conference call Monday.

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3 groups bid to build new FAU stadium

Dorms, retail to be included

By Sarah Talalay
Staff Writer
Posted November 22 2005

BOCA RATON ? Promising to transform Florida Atlantic University's Boca Raton campus from a commuter school into a residential one, three groups vying to build a football stadium-dormitory-retail complex pitched their projects in detail before a university committee Monday.

The groups, each comprised of developers, builders, architects, sports venue operators and financial consultants, want to help the university get its 40,000-seat domed football stadium in a private-public partnership.

While each offers a stadium and a combination of dorms, shops and restaurants, the proposals and financing plans vary widely. Even the proposed costs of the stadium range from $108 million to $145 million.

The proposal from Global Development Partners, for example, includes a "main street plaza" of retail shops and restaurants the company says would be a draw for the whole community, not just students on campus; 2,500 dormitory beds; a hotel; and an optional cancer research center.

GDP would issue bonds for the project and recoup the cost through revenues generated by the stadium and the residential and retail development and naming rights. "Once the bonds are retired, under our proposal all the revenue goes back to FAU," said Timothy Kissler, GDP principal.

The university committee reviewing the proposals from GDP, KUD International and Innovation Development Partners, has asked its financial consultants to review the pitches and outline the risks and benefits to the university. The group will hold another meeting Dec. 5 and Athletic Director Craig Angelos said he could not predict when a recommendation would be made to FAU President Frank Brogan and the board of trustees.

The university is considering hiring one of the groups to build the stadium and accompanying retail and dorms to ensure it gets its long-sought on-campus stadium, which would also be used by the school's basketball teams and for concerts and conferences. FAU is following the lead of the University of Central Florida, which considered the concept for its convocation center. UCF decided to raise the money itself for the project, but hired the KUD group to build it.

KUD's proposal for FAU would be built in phases with 1,200 beds opening in fall 2007; 700 beds, a 1,000-car garage and 60,000-square feet of retail opening in fall 2008; and the stadium, 1,400 beds, 1,000 parking spaces, and 90,000-square feet of retail, to open by fall 2009.

Dennis Biggs, KUD International executive vice president, said the FAU project has the potential to generate more than $6 million annually in profits when it is completed. KUD hopes to share in those profits, Biggs said.

Innovation Development Partners' plans 1,500 dormitory beds and retail geared more to campus life, rather than the community at large.

While GDP and KUD officials said they would pay to build the projects as long as they get a cut of the profits, IDP officials said they can't promise to do that.

"It's hard without knowing the ingredients to say we'll take all the risk," said Dave LeFevre, president of Beacon Sports Properties, which represents the IDP group. "Anyone who stands here and says we'll take all the risk … that doesn't make sense. There are too many unknowns."

LeFevre said it is difficult to estimate how well the project will do since FAU's five-year-old football program is still in its infancy.

Sarah Talalay can be reached at [email protected]

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2009 ??? ::) :-[
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in the grand scheme of things, 4 years to build this complex is not long at all. however, given our situation, it could cripple the program. thats a scary thought.
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Those are my thoughts Baller07. 4 Years is a very real timeframe.
But…What will be the effect on the program in the short run? No stadium to claim for this 2005/2006 recruiting class.
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They may have the stadium built before all the other stuff if they build it in phases...
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They have got to start something the first of the year and Bighooter is 100% right if they build in phases make this the first phase. They could build the stadium in phases and phase one be ready by 06 or 07, off season close off the second phase and complete the stadium. Then I woke up and they still had an empty lot. UCF knows the importance of the stadium and with the season they are having, it makes for an easy sell.

This would give us a big edge on recruiting
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Would the new contractor be ready to start building the first of 2006? I'm no architect but my father was an engineer and I know concept pictures and estimated costs for a bid submittal can be done without designing the facility. That takes quite a bit of time. At this point can starting the stadium that soon be realistic?

Or is everything designed and ready to go?

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I don't it's as bad as some would preceive things to be, even if the Dome is not ready before 2008-09 season.

IMO, 2008 would be a realistic time frame for the dome to be ready even if it is built in phases and I don't think it would have any effect on recruiting especially if the Dome project has been approved and in the process of being built with things falling into place at the start of the new year (2006). As long as the project is moving forward, the Dome is still a recruiting tool, the new recruits would have a chance to play in a brand new on campus Stadium, I see this as a plus. It only becomes a negative as far as recruit if the Dome project drags on to 2010-12 - that would be a very bad thing.

Now, lets say one of the three proposal are not acceptable, then the pressure does falls back on the University to get the funding in place for a temp. facility on campus and this may already in place.

Lets keep a positive outlook on this Dome project

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