Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Questions Regarding Memorial Stadium Renovations


Illinois is embarking on a "Renaissance" plan to renovate Memorial Stadium and install luxury suites, move the scoreboard, etc. The total costs (at this time) are projected to exceed $100,000,000.00. (Lots of zeroes!!) My question: how does the DIA intend to pay for this?

With total costs of well above $100 million, the Memorial Stadium
renovation will be paid in large part through the pre-sales of the west
stadium’s new luxury seating opportunities. The annual cash flow from the
luxury seating will provide the resources necessary to pay down the debt on
newly issued 30-year bonds. In addition, a private capital campaign is
underway, featuring naming opportunities within the renovated stadium, to
provide additional funding. No state or tuition assessments will be used
to finance the renovation project
.

This raises several questions:

1) How are the sales for the suites progressing? We keep hearing how the sales are going well. Should we believe this?

2) Regarding these bonds, is there a letter of credit or other instrument guaranteeing payment? Is this coming from the DIA? What is the credit enhancement being used to guarantee the bondholders that this project won't go into default?

3) Who is the entity guaranteeing the bonds? The DIA? Is the University of Illinois guaranteeing these bonds? (I hope not. The University is suffering financial cutbacks as it is.)

I am truly skeptical about how this project is going to turn out. It's bad enough that the scoreboard is being moved to the horseshoe end (why?) but what makes matters worse is that many season-ticket holders in the West Balcony will be displaced to make way for the suites.

9 Comments:

Blogger sapsparky said...

It's bad enough that the scoreboard is being moved to the horseshoe end (why?)

The scoreboard is not being moved to the South endzone. It will remain in the North endzone and be located above the much larger and permanent seating there.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Fire Ron Guenther said...

not according to this.

http://illinireport.typepad.com/illini_report/memorial_stadium/index.html

1:41 PM  
Blogger sapsparky said...

Your full link does not show up, and while the illini report is likely a very good sourse of information, you can just hit the Illinois Renaissance North Endzone website:

http://www.athletics.uiuc.edu/renaissance/gallery/north.htm

8:10 AM  
Blogger sapsparky said...

Or click here

8:11 AM  
Blogger Fire Ron Guenther said...

if the scoreboard actually remains in the North end, i will buy you a soda.

7:44 AM  
Blogger sapsparky said...

just to be clear here, are we talking about the scoreboard's final resting place, or a temporary displacement? because phase 2 of the renovation is going to be the north end zone, with the south end zone being phase 3.

Also, your first question is answered by the main page (45 of 48 suites sold, 77 club sold out, and 700+ seats sold for the colonnades club).

11:01 AM  
Blogger Fire Ron Guenther said...

my sources have told me that the current plan is to have the final resting place for the scoreboard in the south end zone.

and I don't believe the numbers on the suite sales.

5:56 AM  
Blogger sapsparky said...

Btw - to address the original question as to why the scoreboard would be relocated, the north endzone is phase two of the renovation. (post-2008 season I believe).

And I'm not sure what to say about not believing the numbers of seats sold.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous hectorv said...

sapsparky--Yes, the scoreboard IS being moved to the North Endzone.

Also, as per numbers given by the DIA recently, I think the Club level was still only about 60% to 70% sold, IIRC.

10:45 AM  

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