Stadium trust OKs lease with Drillers
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 06, 2008
11/06/08 at 3:08 AM
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of the Tulsa
The Tulsa Stadium Trust approved a 30-year lease with the Tulsa Drillers during its first meeting Wednesday.
The trust plans to build a downtown, multipurpose ballpark as an attraction to draw traffic into the area and stimulate redevelopment.
The total cost of the ballpark project is $60 million, which includes the stadium and acquiring properties adjacent to the site for quality, mixed-use development, which officials have said is an essential element to a successful project.
"This is great news," Mayor Kathy Taylor said after the meeting about ratifying the lease. "There is no risk; only returns for the city."
Drillers owner Chuck Lamson said the process has been long but that the result is good for both sides.
"Now that the paper is signed, I can begin to work in the spirit of the agreement with the trust," he said. "This is a great business opportunity for me, and the trust has great business minds on it that can help me."
Of the total cost of the ballpark project, $30 million is pledged by private donors, $25 million more would be generated over 30 years from a downtown property assessment district, and $5 million would come from the Drillers' lease.
The ballpark site is in the historic Greenwood District, nestled against Interstate 244 and bounded by Elgin Avenue and Archer Street and abutting the back side of the businesses along Greenwood Avenue.
The trust will own the ballpark.
The lease requires the Drillers to pay $150,000 in rent per year. The rent will be paid monthly and adjusted for inflation with a 5 percent cap plus 50 cents per ticket sold over 400,000.
During the baseball season, the lease allows three days a month in which the trust can hold events at the ballpark. Trust event tickets will have a 50-cent surcharge that will go into a capital improvement fund to maintain the stadium.
The trust will start the improvement fund with $500,000 and must maintain that amount during the term of the lease.
In baseball's off season, the Drillers can hold as many events as reasonable, provided that there aren't conflicts with trust events, which will have a priority.
The Drillers will receive 100 percent of the revenue, including concessions, at baseball events. But during nonbaseball events, the Drillers will remit to the trust 10 percent of all net revenues and 90 percent of the net revenues from trust events.
For 20 years, the trust also will have the exclusive right to market and sell the naming rights to the ballpark and retain 100 percent of the revenue.
The trust also approved two requests for proposals to be advertised immediately one for $25 million in bond financing and the other for a design and construction contract.
Bank of Oklahoma President Stan Lybarger, who has led the ballpark effort and was elected the trust's chairman Wednesday, said his bank will not bid on the financing because of its involvement in the project. The bank also is a donor.
City Council approval is required for the trust to take on indebtedness. The trust plans to issue $25 million in revenue bonds to go toward the estimated $39.2 million stadium cost. The assessment fee will repay the bonds.
Lybarger said the goal is to break ground on the project before Dec. 31 and have a stadium built for the 2010 baseball season.
P.J. Lassek 581-8382
Tulsa Stadium Trust members
Mayor Kathy Taylor, serves through her term in office
Steven Malcolm, CEO of Williams Co., a donor and representing
downtown property owners, four years
Glenn Strobel, owner of Team Properties, downtown property
owner, three years
Larry Lyon, owner of Lyon’s Indian Store, downtown property
owner, four years
Reuben Gant, president of Greenwood Chamber of Commerce,
representing the Greenwood Community Development
Corp., three years
The remaining trustee seats are five-year terms but will
begin as staggered terms.
James Adelson, president of the Nadel and Gussman oil and gas
company, a donor to the ballpark project, two years
John-Kelly Warren, CEO of the William K. Warren Foundation, a
donor to the ballpark project, three years
Stan Lybarger, Bank of Oklahoma president, a donor to the
ballpark project, four years