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News: Costs of Cowboys' stadium itemized - DMN

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Lord Sun, May 20, 2004.

  1. Lord Sun

    Lord Sun New Member

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    Costs of Cowboys' stadium itemized

    Some officials say construction document doesn't justify new taxes

    By DAVE MICHAELS / The Dallas Morning News


    The $654 million stadium envisioned by the Dallas Cowboys for Fair Park would include a $107 million retractable roof, $12 million in Jumbotrons and scoreboards and a $4 million open end zone, according to a construction document obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

    Dallas County officials cautioned that the document is preliminary and that costs could change. County commissioners, who are negotiating with the Cowboys to build a stadium in Fair Park, asked the team to itemize the stadium's costs beyond the overall figure it released last month.

    Cowboys officials said the construction budget also accommodates the needs of the State Fair of Texas. The bottom level of the parking structure, which would cost $47 million, would be a livestock barn with 350 stalls and enough room for 1,200 animals.

    "There is not a lot of fluff in what we have put together," said Jud Heflin, the team's director of stadium development. "We have not padded anything. We think it's accurate."

    Several commissioners said the document is the first glimpse of the stadium's costs but said it is not nearly enough to justify the $425 million public investment the Cowboys have requested.

    "I really want some verification of the cost they associate with each item," said Commissioner Jim Jackson.

    The Cowboys and Dallas County have begun negotiating to build what would be the country's most expensive football stadium. At 2.1 million square feet, it would also be the largest, team officials said.

    Houston's Reliant Stadium, which opened in 2002, cost $449 million. Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field opened in 2003 at an expense of $520 million.

    Houston did not require new parking for Reliant Stadium, which uses surface parking left over from the Astrodome.

    Reliant has the NFL's only retractable roof, designed by Uni-Systems of Minneapolis. Jerry Dinkins, director of facilities for the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, said the roof cost about $75 million.

    The Cowboys have said their Fair Park stadium would include 380 luxury suites. The construction document estimates that the suites would cost $9.6 million.

    A Fair Park stadium would have one open end zone, rather than the two envisioned at other sites. The end zone would face a park where the Cotton Bowl once stood, Mr. Heflin said.

    "It is an attempt to put the park back in Fair Park," Mr. Heflin said.

    To verify the construction figures, the county intends to hire URS, an international engineering and construction firm, as early as next week.

    Allen Clemson, the administrator for county commissioners, said he expects URS will get documentation that justifies the construction figures.

    "I fully expect there will be a full itemized breakdown of the cost and there will be detail that supports the itemized detail," Mr. Clemson said.

    Mr. Jackson said the document, prepared by Manhattan Construction Co., is not specific enough. He hopes the team provides more detail to URS, he said, but he still believes the Cowboys' request for $425 million in public funding is too much.

    "The Cowboys' request is well beyond anything I believe the county is going to do," Mr. Jackson said. "Maybe URS will tell us: 'Under this scenario, that would be the cost. But there is another where the cost would be less.' "

    Mr. Heflin said that the team has been working hard to develop a budget for the stadium but that some numbers may change. The $25.4 million estimated for the stadium's exterior is for "an Art Deco kind of environment, rather than the more modern look we were looking at downtown," he said.

    The Cowboys have asked to pay for most of the stadium's cost by increasing the tax on hotel rooms and rental cars. The team has proposed a 3 percent countywide hotel tax and 6 percent rental-car tax.

    Any new taxes would have to be approved by voters. Although the Cowboys want to place the issue on the November ballot, a legal hitch could put off an election.

    The Legislature must agree to change state law to allow the county to use hotel and rental-car taxes for a project on city parkland. Although the Legislature just finished a special session and may hold another, some public officials believe lawmakers will be too occupied with reworking the state's school finance system.

    The News obtained the construction document Thursday after filing a Texas Public Information Act request. The Cowboys had declined to release it and asked Gene Locke, Dallas County's attorney for the project, to keep it confidential.

    Mr. Clemson said he thought the construction document was public but understood the Cowboys' reluctance to release it.

    "If you put them [the costs] in the newspaper, it etches them in stone and they are judged and questioned about why did this change?" Mr. Clemson said.

    Some commissioners suggested the document is meaningless because it does not explain how the team arrived at certain costs.

    "You have to have some information to make decisions, and we don't have any," said Commissioner John Wiley Price.

    Through Mr. Locke, the Cowboys also requested a private meeting between their owners and the county commissioners. Commissioners turned them down, saying any meetings between the team and elected officials must be public.

    E-mail dmichaels@dallasnews.com
  2. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    The posturing that the Dallas City Council is doing makes me sick...

    I would like to see THEIR personal income BEFORE becoming a City Council member as opposed to AFTER...

    If you don't think for a minute they would'nt raise the hotel and rental car tax AFTER the stadium is bulit... then you haven't watched how they work...

    The NFL's marquis team... deserves a marquis stadium...

    I am with JJ on this...
  3. Mr Twister

    Mr Twister New Member

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    So if they close the endzone they save $4 million and have more seats?
  4. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    I posted this before and the tax has a length of time before it goes back to the orginal amount
  5. jamez25

    jamez25 Active Member

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    amen brother
  6. BlueStar22

    BlueStar22 Well-Known Member

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    do you live in Dallas County?
  7. BlueStar22

    BlueStar22 Well-Known Member

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    we all agree with Jerry on this but Jerry needs to dig a bit deeper into his billion dollar pockets.
  8. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    I did for almost 8 years... and I was in the trade show industry when I lived there... traveling to a trade show is a big write-off... it will affect NOTHING while providing an appropriate home for the Cowboys...
  9. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Did they ask Cuban to itemize his new arena like this?
  10. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    Holy cow, I just noticed your username and where you are from. I used to listen to Mr Twister on the SLC morning show. Those guys were hilarious. Timmy was my favorite.
  11. LeonDixson

    LeonDixson Illegitimi non carborundum

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    I just read a couple of days ago that another team (I can't remember which) is considering building a stadium that would cost over a Billion dollars. That would make the Cowboys stadium look cheap by comparison.

    I could see the county and it's residents being concerned if this was a general tax increase being requested. But it's not. It's a tax on hotels and rental cars and, thus, would be paid for almost entirely by tourists and visiting business persons.

    The income generated by the stadium for all kinds of non-Cowboys events will significantly improve the economic situation in the area.

    This sounds like a win/win proposition to me. I don't understand the hew and cry to make JJ dip deeper into his pockets when both the county and the Cowboys are going to benefit.

    Now if someone is complaining about increased traffic, smog, noise or something tangible like that, then that's a different story. It seems like all they are complaining about is the financing. It's like being ticked off because your wife is accepting a $1,000 gift from her cousin in Dayton, even though she will spend half of it on you.
  12. NorthDalal

    NorthDalal Member

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    Count on it.

    This is simply an exercise for show only.

    Jerry wants the county commissioners to angrily cut up this deal and torpedo it so he can say to the downtown crowd "See I tried".The mayor and the city council killed the deal.

    The true economic center of the Metroplex is far north of downtown and adjusting for the commute of season ticketholders in Ft.Worth/Grapevine and Southlake, together with the natural growing market for season tickets of West Plano and Frisco, add in the parking and security factor-then mix in the fact that this will be most easily done under state taxing authority as a Dallas County deal, and there it is clear as Rocket on the play that beat the Skins in overtime September '99.

    Come on down.... Irving, Texas welcome to the new 1 Billion dollar Cowboy Stadium,Cowboy Hall of Fame, Cowboy Practice fields.

    Plenty of parking, plenty of restaurants and the hotels are already in place, make a trip to "Cowboy-land" your summer or fall travel destination and Six Flags, Lone Star Park and Galleria Shopping are only minutes of traffic free driving away.

    It just makes sense.
  13. BigDPlayer

    BigDPlayer Active Member

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    I agree with you 110%!!

    Look, the facts are well proven and well documented in cities throughout the U.S. The economic stimulous a project such as this provides is well into the billions of dollars over time. The jobs created, the secondary benefits of revitalization in Fair Park, the taxes generated on liquor sales for god sakes!!!

    The county SHOULD pay for the vast majority of a project like this. Does JJ benefit? Of course he does. But I'd argue the county and city and, therefore, the taxpaying citizens get a lot more benefit in the form of a revitalized and prosperous Fair Park, hundreds (if not thousands) of jobs created, and a world class facility/destination.
  14. GTaylor

    GTaylor Gif Dude

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    Don't think so, Cuban bought the team after the stadium was built.

    I have no problem with the amount requested so long as they get to share in the profits, if the team keeps all revenue, ala what the Stars and Mavericks have with AAA then no way would I vote a yes to that.
  15. LeonDixson

    LeonDixson Illegitimi non carborundum

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    Even though, it is costing the citizens of the county very little and creating jobs and improving the economy, you would vote no. Why?
  16. GTaylor

    GTaylor Gif Dude

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    Because to me it would be taking two steps back to take a step forward. If you raise hotel taxes to ridiculous rates, you could lose more in hotel/car rental business than you would make up with the stadium.

    DFW Airport is based in tarrant county, so you won't be taxing them for the new stadium, odds are it'll be the locals who'll end up paying.

    So if the locals have to pay, shouldn't they get part of the revenue as well? Without a doubt Cowboys need a new stadium, but they've gotta be fair about it...
  17. scottsp

    scottsp Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a big problem with the hotel/car rental tax hike if it comes to pass. That's same proposal worked well with helping to finance AAC and I have little reason to doubt it would do the same in this case.

    The DMN ran a piece a few weeks ago about business owners near and around the Fair Park area that would be affected should the new stadium complex go up there. If I own a business or property in that vincinity and they ask me to sell, they better be willing to pay out the nose. Current market value ain't going to get it done if it's me. It's got to be a helluva lot more than that.

    No one who is currently located there can up and find other property at a comparable rate. Not even close. People who are familiar with that area know full well of what I'm talking about. The land value there is dirt cheap. Imagine what the real estate will be valued at if this development comes to pass.

    Just something I'd been wondering about.
  18. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Indeed. I travel to Dallas and through Dallas on a regular basis, as do many of my employees. I wonder just how much we lucky few will have to pay on behalf of this Stadium. I am not for this not because the brunt of the obligation would be directed at organizations such as myself but because Dallas and it's Metro area will bennifit from this. It is this same group of people who should bear a fair amount of the burden. If it is deemed acceptable, then that's fine. If it is deemed unacceptable, how then should it be acceptable for Tourists and Business Organizations to pay for it?
  19. Lord Sun

    Lord Sun New Member

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    Letters for Sunday

    11:13 AM CDT on Saturday, May 22, 2004

    Re: "Where's the 'can do' spirit?" by Harry J. Joe, last Sunday's Letters.
    Mr. Joe's letter suggests the lack of enthusiasm about public funding of a new Dallas Cowboys football stadium indicates Dallas may have lost its "can do" spirit. I recall Dallas having plenty of "can do" spirit back when public funds benefited the public, not a single wealthy family.

    How sad that today's business leaders seem to feel the city owes them, rather than their owing the city for their many economic blessings. How different their attitude is from that of the business leadership back when Dallas really was a "can do" city.

    Professional sports facilities don't make cities great. Good streets, good schools, good housing, good jobs and good parks, those are the indicia of "can do" cities. Sports teams can provide entertainment, but they provide few full-time permanent jobs. Spending $425 million in the Fair Park area on code enforcement, economic development and quality, affordable housing could go a long way toward revitalizing that neighborhood – and I'd rather see my tax dollars go there than in Jerry Jones' pocket.

    Susan Sanders Wansbrough, Dallas
  20. LeonDixson

    LeonDixson Illegitimi non carborundum

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    I certainly see your point of view, ABQCOWBOY. However, my post was related to people who live in the county. I won't get into business' tax deductible expenses because I don't know enough about it and because I was only speaking of opposition from within the county.

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