Stadium Project Update with Terry Mohajir
Recently caught up with Terry Mohajir, Associate AD for External Relations, to get his latest on the stadium project. He was quite accommodating, and offered a good bit of information. Here's what he had to say during our time together:
What’s new with the stadium project?
“Because this is going to be a pretty tight schedule, they’re still planning on a 2011 opening.”
Planning or it’s still happening?
“No, it’s still going to happen. When I say planning I’m talking about Gantt charts. You have to have everything down to the month: your designs, your final drawings, when you’re breaking ground – everything.”
What's going on with the construction and fences on the east side of campus?
“What they are doing right now is clearing that land. They’ve got to put the fence down first. Then they’ve got to move the turtles into another area. Then they will clear the forest area and put mulch down so the Owls don’t come back.”
“Were starting that process, and that can take a long time, because the environmentalists have to come in. We had the same issue with the track. So, with the turtles, you get delayed a little bit.”
How about the financing aspect of the project?
“We are still clearing the land, regardless. We are hoping that on March first we should be getting our financing. We hired a financial adviser, his name is Craig Dunlap. He did UCF’s project and he also did FIU’s project.
What’s his main function?
“His main function is to be the financial adviser to our University. He’ll be the adviser and consultant to help us to get the line of credit that we need to start the construction.”
“No, he doesn’t do any of that stuff. “
Are we still on board with someone to name the stadium?
“We’ve got someone that has agreed in principle.”
They are not inked?
“No, they are not. They’ve agreed to a number. It’s a verbal agreement, but that could change. We’ve got two other people that are now interested as well.”
So you are shopping and they are shopping, but you have someone who has put the item in their cart?
“Yes, they have someone who has agreed to a number. Once the financing happens, we are hoping that we’ll start construction in June. Then we’ll have it done by August, 2011.”
How much are you going to need to finance?
“Right now, if everything came in we have about $25 million in financing, so (we would need) another $40 million."
So, everything is on target?
“Everything is right now; the one wild card is the financing. We hired a company a couple of years back named Johnson Consulting out of Chicago. They did Louisville’s project. They come in and look at what your debt service is…you need x amount of dollars for suites, x amount of dollars for naming rights, x amount of dollars for concessions, and x amount of dollars for merchandising. They did that, but it is two years old now, so we have to update it. We met with them and it looks like we will have that within six weeks. Once we have that the financial adviser will use that and take it take it to the banks. That is why Craig Dunlap is so important to us.”
What kind of financing options are being considered?
“They don’t even know if they are going to go the bond way. They may just go to the bank and get a letter of credit. It could be a three, five, or ten year letter”.
So, you are hoping March 1st is your next big date?
“I am hoping our next big day is inking our naming rights person.”
Could that come before March 1st?
“Yes, it could.”
Then do you have a time line put into place?
“We’d like to do it before the holidays, but I’d like to do a lot of things."
When does it have to be done?
“It definitely has to be done before we go to the market.”
You want to go to market in March, right, so you’ve got four months?
“I think we need to have it done before that. And we’re still working on the Crocker deal, the twelve million dollar deal, and that is supposed to be inked in February. That’s not inked yet.”
The board approved that on their retreat, officially?
“Yes. Well, I should say the development piece.”
How much out of that 12 million is going to be earmarked for the stadium?
“We don’t know. We may not have to use all of it. Some of it may go to the University; some may go to the operation of the athletic department.
So you can’t count on all of that 12 million dollars going into the stadium’s coffer?
“Oh, yeah, we are. We’re counting on it.”