Only 1 bid to build ballpark
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
6/30/09 at 3:37 PM
The Tulsa Stadium Trust received only one bid Monday to construct a nearly $40 million downtown baseball stadium and no bids to finance $25 million of its cost.
The construction bid came from Tulsa Stadium Construction Co. LLC, which guarantees that it will build the ballpark for no more than $39.2 million at specifications outlined by the trust.
Phil Lakin, the construction com- pany's manager, submitted the bid.
Lakin also is executive director of the Tulsa Community Foundation, a tax-exempt, public charity created by George Kaiser and other philanthropists in 1998 to receive, protect and distribute gifts from individuals and organizations for the improvement of Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma. Kaiser is not a foundation board member.
The bid also included a statement that no conflicts of interest exist between the construction company and the stadium trust that would interfere in any way with fair competition in the bid- selection process.
The Bank of Oklahoma is a major donor of private funds to the project. Kaiser is chairman of the BOK Financial Corp., and Stan Lybarger, president of Bank of Oklahoma, is the stadium trust's chairman.
The trust is overseeing a $60 million project that includes construction of a 6,200-seat stadium to house the city's Double-A baseball team, the Tulsa Drillers, and the acquisition of adjacent properties for mixed-use development.
The trust received responses declining to bid on the financial portion of the project from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Wells Nelson & Associates, an Oklahoma-based public finance investment bank.
"While we desire to assist the Tulsa Stadium Trust, there are parts of this proposal that prohibit us," David Page of Chase Bank wrote.
Randall Nelson, executive vice president of Wells Nelson, wrote that because of the current credit market conditions and the risk associated with the proposed stadium financing, "we are unable to submit an offer at this time."
However, Nelson said that should the trust consider alternative financing approaches, the bank would be willing to submit a bid or discuss the options.
The trust is set to take action on the bid Friday.
Last month, the City Council approved a resolution that allows the trust turn to a local foundation for financing if it received no bids or unsatisfactory bids for the financing.
As the trust chairman, Lybarger has told the council that the financing would be drafted so that the city has no liability for the repayment of the loan if the revenue stream falls short.
The plan has been to issue revenue bonds that would be repaid over 30 years with $25 million that would be collected through assessment fees on downtown property.
The lender would look strictly at the assessment fees for revenue and, if necessary, trust assets, Lybarger has said.
Other funding that makes up the $60 million includes $30 million in private donations and $5 million from the Drillers' lease.
The trust hopes to break ground before the end of the year to meet the deadline of having the stadium ready for the team's 2010 season.
P.J. Lassek 581-8382