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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Arena Funding Approved

Field of Schemes:

Sentinel Link
"In case you missed the big vote on Tuesday, Florida's Orange County commission voted 6-1 to hike hotel taxes by 1%, with some of the proceeds earmarked for new and renovated pro sports facilities. With the Orlando Magic pushing for a new $350 million arena and other downtown interests demanding a $252 million renovation to the Citrus Bowl, however, the hotel tax alone is unlikely to make the nut: 'I don't think this ordinance gets us there,' county commissioner Homer Hartage told the Orlando Sentinel. 'There's a tremendous amount of work still to be done.'"
Given what is going on with Seattle possibly losing the Sonics and Kansas City, OK City and Las Vegas on the horizon looking to steal teams this is great news. If the Magic are willing to hand over the $60 million tax break the State gave them we should see the Magic in a shiny new palace with a 25 year commitment to Orlando before Dwight Howard turns 25.

Good for Dyer, Crotty and the State Legislature for not sinking to the populist demagoging taking place in Seattle and Washington D.C. and getting the project pushed this far. And a toast to all the wonderful tourists kicking in the extra penny to help pay for our new playpen. It's not done yet, but the last few months have accomplished a bunch.

3 Comments:

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I agree WeR...things are starting to look a lot better for the long-awaited new arena!

     
  • At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can you fill me in on the details of this? Would the Arena funding be part of the Citrus Bowl renovations and/or a Performing Arts Center? Will there be any kind of public vote on the funding
    or is it a done deal due to the vote by the Orange County Commission?
    Thanks!

     
  • At 1:37 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    So far there have been two important votes that have been passed. Neither had to be put to ballot.

    The first happened a few months back. Most Florida professional sports teams qualify for a 30 year 2 million tax exemption that is designed to help them pay for arena improvements and compel them to stay in the state. Over the years the Dolphins, Jags, Bucs & Heat have all qualified. Earlier this year the Magic got theirs. This effectively puts $60 million extra in their pockets over a 30 year period they otherwise would have paid in taxes.

    Now last month, Orange County passed an extra penny to the tourist tax. Check the links, but I believe it raises the tourist tax from 6% to 7%. It is expected to generate about $19 million a year in new revenue that is earmarked towards a targetted $1 billion in area improvements. This project desires to build a new $375 million arena, invest in improving the football stadium, and build a new performing arts complex that will draw in another $500 million in private sector investments of hotels, restaurants and shopping.

    While it all doesn't add up to a billion dollars yet, Orlando claims to have over $100 million already earmarked towards the project.

     

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