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Plans Shown For Adriaen's Latest Landing
After months of back-room planning, corporate panhandling and more twists than a tornado, a revised Adriaen's Landing plan was shown to the public Tuesday.
City residents saw plans for a 700-room hotel with a lobby spilling out onto a riverwalk; a ``town square'' filled with cafes, stores and outdoor seating; a ``Restaurant Row'' on Arch Street; and a convention center with a rooftop ballroom and a sweeping view of the river.
They saw a lot of concrete; even after a proposed giant football stadium was exiled across the river to East Hartford.
Many of the 100 or so residents who attended the meeting, called to get community input, were struck by the sheer size of what is planned for the 33-acre riverfront site.
``This is the first I've seen this version,'' said Bernadine Silvers, the head of a neighborhood group studying the latest architect renderings.
Planners said the latest renderings were just that, and they expect many more ``unveilings'' before concrete is poured.
Silvers said removing the football arena from the plan would defuse much of the opposition to the whole development project - at least in its latest incarnation. Only a half-dozen people spoke up about the plan Tuesday, and the meeting ended an hour early.
``The stadium would have interfered too much with our quality of life, and made Columbus Boulevard too congested,'' Silvers said.
Others raised concerns ranging from increased traffic and air pollution to questions about how contaminated soil will be excavated and transported.
The ``scoping'' meeting is a requirement of state and federal environmentnal laws, and the comments received will be addressed in an impact study draft that will be issued in the spring.
Still, some residents said it was difficult to appraise the effect of a project that is very much a work in progress.
``This wasnt what they brought to us,'' said Cherrille Howard, a neighborhood resident. ``This is a totally different plan.''
Howard and others received a handout that provided statistics for a project with a 40,000-seat football stadium, a sketch that included a 20,000-seat arena, and appeals from officials and designers to pretty much disregard the details.
``A project this size,'' said Gregory Cranford, the lead architect, ``does not spring forth fully formed.''
Dr. Mark Mitchell of the Hartford Environmental Justice Network, wondered why the results of the soil tests have not been released to the public.
Thomas F. Stark, an environmental consultant who has been doing the soil borings, said the results have first been given to the property owners.
But he said the latest tests have not revealed anything that was unexpected for a site long used for industry.
typical urban fill,'' he said. ``There's no Love Canal here.''
Carolina Hurricanes Blown Off Course By Financial Troubles
By Barry M. Bloom
Carolina Hurricanes Blown Off Course By Financial Troubles
North Carolina, Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Carolina
years later, the franchise once known as the
losses since the move having exceeded $75.5
for Carolina's former captain, Keith Primeau,
to North Carolina, where a state-of-the-art NHL
Asking for More
Rowland blames Karmanos, the 56-year-old chairman
offered to build a $145 million arena in
would have operated the arena and received all
local officials also agreed to underwrite $20.5
enough for Karmanos. He demanded a rent-free
Karmanos got in North Carolina, though, wasn't
invested about $40 million in the new $154 million
officials have also faced the task of selling
area, meanwhile, is the U.S.'s 29th-
to be a tough challenge. Two seasons spent playing
the Whalers, because of a save-the-franchise
Even in the
new building, where the team has yet to sell the
It's no wonder
then that Karmanos admits his team would've
the absentee owner -- he still lives in Detroit and
Stadium Loss Seen As A Riverfront Gain
By ERIC M.
WEISS, MATTHEW DALY And DAN HAAR
That's why no one was complaining when Gov. John G. Rowland announced plans to punt a UConn football stadium from Adriaen's Landing to Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
In the final analysis, a domed riverfront stadium that would be used a dozen or so times a year was not worth its space in the 33-acre footprint of Adriaen's Landing, Rowland and legislative leaders said.
Chairman of the Board of United Technologies, explains to the press how
the decision was made to offer the State of Connecticut a parcel of 75
acres of land to build the new UConn stadium on. Behind him is Gov. John
If they needed any convincing, it had come a day earlier, when legislators were shown an artist's rendering of the Adriaen's Landing site, with the imposing stadium.
``It was like dropping a spaceship onto a scenic New England riverbank,'' said Roy Occhiogrosso, a spokesman for Senate Democrats.
An open-air stadium will be built on 75 acres donated by United Technologies Corp. at Rentschler Field, and Adriaen's Landing will be retooled for a convention center, hotel and, probably, a new indoor arena to replace the aging Civic Center.
Supporters said moving the stadium makes the Adriaen's Landing site less cramped and more flexible. A fluid layout and concept are key at a time when Rowland and his hand-picked developers are crisscrossing the country trying to interest retailers and other attractions in the project.
And then there's the money. Building a 35,000-seat, open-air stadium on the flat, cleaner land of Rentschler Field will shave $80 million to $120 million from the project's cost. That means more cash for housing, retail operations, an expanded convention center and a new civic arena at Hartford's riverfront.
Asked why the stadium was now seen as a drag on Adriaen's Landing, rather than a key component - as he had insisted throughout efforts to bring the New England Patriots to Hartford - Rowland said simply that things change.
Specifically, he said, he was persuaded by the developers of the project that the domed stadium was too big and would ``do violence'' to the riverfront site.
Even city officials agreed.
``It's a good move,'' Hartford Deputy Mayor Frances Sanchez said. ``We saw that it was too cramped, too packed. I don't think Hartford is losing. We have to think regionally.''
Moving the 240-foot-tall stadium also appeals to riverfront advocates, who feared the stadium would block access to a commodity they have spent more than a decade trying to recapture.
Rowland, burned by boasts of definitiveness during the Patriots imbroglio, took pains Thursday to say the latest version of the project will change many more times before any ribbons are cut.
``Changes,'' Rowland said, tongue in cheek, from now on will be called ``improvements.''
Sources say a retooled Adriaen's Landing - or ``Twain's Landing'' as some are pushing to call it - would still have some kind of sports venue connected to the convention center. That most likely means an arena that would replace the Hartford Civic Center.
Moving the stadium to Rentschler Field means it can be open for UConn football in time for the 2003 season, Rowland said, and also removes deadline pressure for Adriaen's Landing.
``The price was right,'' Rowland said, noting that the offer from UTC was unsolicited and occurred during a meeting on another topic.
Some time pressure remains. Rowland is expected to present a plan of development to the legislature in March, after which lawmakers will decide whether to release $455 million in state funding for the convention center and stadium.
The money cannot be freed until at least $210 million in private investment is committed for the project - a number that legislative leaders said will not change. The project is expected to include retail components, housing and possibilities such as an expanded Wadsworth Atheneum and ESPN Zone theme restaurant.
Building a sports venue at Adriaen's would mean a diminished role, or no role, for the Civic Center arena.
That raises a serious dilemma for the city's redevelopment effort: Moving the basketball/hockey arena from Trumbull Street to Adriaen's Landing might bring vitality to the riverfront at the expense of a section of downtown that seems to work well right now.
``It sounds like we're duplicating something we already have,'' said Hartford city council Minority Leader John B. O'Connell.
Whether a riverfront development would threaten the existing entertainment district around the Civic Center depends on which of the two areas would most benefit from the average of 250 events a year a coliseum brings to the city.
``When we are going through the planning process, we've got to make sure that this is the anchor,'' said Adriaen's Landing developer Len Wolman, of The Waterford Group.
Clearly, some decisions have to be made soon.
``The worst thing for us would be uncertainty,'' said Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, the developer charged with redeveloping the failing Civic Center mall, which is attached to the Civic Center coliseum. Northland is proposing a $150 million complex of upscale apartments in two high-rises, and stores.
``We either need a vibrant coliseum or a demolished coliseum,'' Gottesdiener said.
Rowland stressed that the proposal for a new indoor arena - to house UConn basketball, minor-league hockey and other events now at the Civic Center - was one of many ideas being considered.
Nonetheless, he said, ``There are some people saying the Civic Center is obsolete. It may be obsolete whether we do the arena at Adriaen's Landing or not.''
SPORTS BUSINESS NEWS--- The End May Indeed Be Near, for the Senators: Despite Rod Bryden's belief that his Ottawa Senators will be given the necessary tax concessions (at least $10 million) before Bryden's early December deadline or the team will be moved and sold, it doesn't appear as if Bryden's sense of confidence is well founded. John Manley, Canada's Industry Minister doesn't see any hope that money will be forthcoming from anywhere. "There aren't other stakeholders that are willing to get involved. I put forward a suggestion that I think could be used to build some base of support, I think we've also got some tax situations, certainly in Ontario, that could be addressed by the provincial and local governments, but there are not too many by the provincial and local governments, but there are not too many things for us to do." That was a statement Manley made outside of Canada's House of Commons on Monday. Bob Chirilli, Ottawa's regional chairman said late last week in the Ottawa Citizen that the team was as good as gone. When the Ottawa Citizen last week reported that Bryden was going to impose a December 7 deadline for tax concessions, or he would put the team on sale, Bryden later denied that there was a deadline and then said until he had more information he wasn't prepared to make any more statements. Memo to Mr. Bryden -- what are you waiting for now. The game appears to be over, game, set and match. It's time to set your deadline, and live with what happens. It's time to see just how serious you are. If this is truly a game of chicken, the ball is now in your court.
And Mr. Bryden Reacts: Rod Bryden has reacted swiftly after John Manley's announcement that he (Manley) didn't believe any government help would be forthcoming for Canada’s NHL teams. Bryden, believes that if the Canadian public rallies behind "the cause", in this case tax concessions for Canada's NHL teams, the tax concessions issue could be settled in the next few weeks. Bryden believes that if the public speaks out on the issue, the politicians will listen. There is support in Ottawa among the citizens of that city for tax concessions. However, it doesn't appear as if support exists anywhere else in Canada. Where exactly Bryden expects to get that support, is anyone's guess. How it could happen in the next few weeks is almost a fairy tale. The question is how serious is Mr. Bryden regarding his threat? Only Mr. Bryden can answer that question, but the real fate of the Ottawa Senators rests in that decision.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Not only are the Atlanta Thrashers the NHL's newest addition, the expansion team also got to open the brand-new $213-million Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta on Saturday night.
In the facility's first event, the New York Rangers beat the Thrashers, in an exhibition game, 3-2 in overtime before a crowd of 17,552.
``Their eyes are very big. They're very excited,'' said Thrashers coach Curt Fraser of his team. ``They're like race horses. They're ready to get out of the gate.''
The Thrashers play at the arena again on Sunday in another exhibition against the New Jersey Devils before opening the regular season at home on Oct. 2 against New Jersey. The official grand opening of the glittering coliseum will be Thursday with an Elton John concert.
Because the 18,559-capacity arena for hockey was only about 95 percent complete, about 1,000 seats were not sold.
It didn't matter to Fraser.
``The facility is fantastic. I think this is just about the ultimate. Is that saying too much,'' he asked.
``I haven't seen a building that can come close to this,'' Fraser said.
Before the game, the Thrashers honored two Cobb County police officers who were killed in July during a standoff at a private residence. An award in the names of officers Stephen Gilner and Steve Reeves will be given to the Thrashers player who gives the most to the community.
The arena was also pleasing to two season-ticket holders, one of whom had a spot in one of the 90 luxury boxes, stacked atop each other on five levels -- each costing from $135,000 to $225,000.
``It's so cutting edge, so forward thinking,'' said Paul Ulerich, a club seat season-ticket holder from Atlanta. ``I'm sure it's going to be the envy of venues everywhere.
``There's so much excitement just waking outside the arena where people are wearing Thrashers T-shirts, Thrashers jerseys and Thrashers hats,'' he said.
``It's very exciting to see how very much Atlanta has done to welcome hockey back,'' Ulerich said.
Atlanta's first NHL hockey team -- the Flames -- arrived in 1972-73 and left following the 1979-80 season for Calgary. Both the Flames and the NBA's Atlanta Hawks played at the Omni.
The arena is a giant upgrade from the Omni, which sat on the same site until it was torn down in 1997. It's uniqueness spread from its large, sweeping roof to the 300-foot-wide A-T-L-A-N-T-A sign at the main entrance.
The arena is also the new home of the Hawks.
``I love it. It's incredible. It's beautiful,'' said Ray Biondi of Alpharetta, a season-ticket holder in one of the suites.
An escalator leads to the ``Thrashers Nest'' and the still-uncompleted ``Philips Experience,'' a monument to the electronics company that reportedly agreed to pay $168 million over 20 years for the naming rights. There are 550 televisions throughout the arena as well as 21 restaurants, many upscale with matching prices. There are also 43 rest rooms, nine locker rooms and an underground basketball court for the Hawks to use as a practice facility.
The average Thrashers' ticket price is $45, but they do have $10 tickets and although they are nine stories above the ice, the view is not bad.
In addition, the Thrashers have a spacious locker room and workout area, a state-of-the-art video facility, saunas and steam rooms.
``Because I'm the sauna king, everyone was betting that I'd be the first one in the sauna, but I haven't been near it yet,'' Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said.
RALEIGH (AP) -- The Carolina Hurricanes have sold at least 4,000 season tickets for their inaugural season in Raleigh at the new Entertainment and Sports Arena, a team official says.
Dean Jordan, the chief executive officer of Gale Force Holdings, the Hurricanes' parent company, again declined Thursday to reveal the exact number of tickets sold, but the total could be higher.
Jordan, who held a similar position with the NHL's Florida Panthers, sold 6,300 season tickets in their inaugural season, 1993-94. Asked if the Hurricanes have sold as many tickets as the Panthers did, Jordan said, ``We're in the ballpark.''
Jordan said he's confident the team, which finished last in average attendance in the 28-team league during its first two seasons in Greensboro, won't finish last in season tickets for the 1999-2000 season.
``We could finish in the top 20 in the NHL in season tickets sold,'' Jordan said. ``I can tell you that we will be many slots from the bottom.''
The Hurricanes sold only 3,000 season tickets in 1997-98, the franchise's first season in North Carolina, when the team played at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Raleigh arena will seat 18,711 for hockey. Individual-game tickets for Carolina's 41-game home schedule go on sale in late September. Prices range from $17 to $99.
The Hurricanes will begin the regular season with nine straight road games while final work on the arena is completed before the Oct. 29 home opener against New Jersey.
Columbia -- Seattle businessman John McCaw wants to sell Orca Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies, NHL's Canucks and GM Place arena, according to a broadcast report.
Orca Bay officials didn't immediately return telephone calls Saturday night, although Canucks general manager Brian Burke said news of the possible sale won't impact the hockey team.
Vancouver Television said sources inside Orca Bay have confirmed McCaw will announce this week his intention to sell all three entities, estimated to have lost millions of dollars over the last year.
McCaw, who made millions when he sold his cellular telephone company in 1994, was first approached by former Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths about buying a share of the hockey team in the fall of 1993. McCaw eventually bought out Griffiths in 1997.
McCaw, who rarely gives interviews, sometimes is seen at center court of Grizzlies games or sitting behind the home bench at hockey games, always with a bodyguard nearby.
It's estimated McCaw has more than $200 million invested in Vancouver sports interests.
In an interview earlier this year, Steve Bellringer, Orca Bay's president and chief executive officer, said the combined losses of the Canucks, Grizzlies and the arena "will be more than the mid- $20 millions."
It's also been no secret that McCaw has been looking for a partner to buy into his sports empire while retaining controlling interest.
Burke refused comment on whether Orca Bay was for sale.
"Mr. McCaw has been looking for strategic partners for some time," he said. "His plan from the get-go was to bring in a partner but to retain control."
Burke said the possible pending sale of the hockey team won't disrupt the season.
"As far as I'm concerned this story doesn't change what Mr. McCaw has been trying to do for some time," he said. "I don't have any cause for concern."
Orca Bay officials said the Canucks had lost $68 million over the last
three years but McCaw had no intention of selling or moving the team.
Primeau rejects Carolina's 'final offer'
The Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) --
All-Star center Keith Primeau, a restricted free agent, has rejected what
the Carolina Hurricanes say will be their final contract offer.
am trying to stay
on top of any news
that effects the
future of hockey in
Hartford, as well as
any news that
relates to the
Connecticut as a