Atlanta mayor “comfortable” giving $150m he doesn’t have yet to Hawks owner for arena remodel

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed still really wants to throw money at the Hawks for an upgrade to their 17-year-old arena:

“We have not settled on the number, but what we have looked at is our own capacity of what we can comfortably finance,” he said in an hour-long meeting with AJC reporters and the newspaper’s editorial board. “We think that number is between 100 million and 150 million (dollars).

“The total project would be anywhere from 200 million to 300 million (dollars),” he said.

Reed said the sources of funding haven’t been determined, but rental car taxes are likely to be part and he did not rule out funding from the Westside Tax Allocation District.

So… wait, what? The city can comfortably finance $100-150 million, but doesn’t know where the money would come from? I thought that $150 million figure was supposed to be from money available after the city sells Turner Field? Now it’s just a big ol’ number that Reed is offering Hawks owner Tony Ressler because that’s just what Atlanta does, even though the team can’t move anywhere without paying massive penalties? Come on, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I’m counting on you to raise your eyebrows at least a little more at this.


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4 comments on “Atlanta mayor “comfortable” giving $150m he doesn’t have yet to Hawks owner for arena remodel

  1. Reed is in a tight spot here. That arena design was so poorly conceived that the Hawks have to either leave or renovate. If the Hawks leave and build a new arena in, say, Cobb County, every touring act is going to avoid Phillips Arena because of the bad design. Then the city would either have to keep spending millions every year operating Phillips Arena, or tear it down. So, spending ~$10 mil/year on a renovation, keeping the Hawks and avoiding competition from a suburban arena does make sense.

  2. The Hawks would have to pay $175 million if they wanted to leave for another arena right now. (Plus figure out how to pay for building a new arena, of course.) Reed’s submitting an opening bid of $150 million before anyone else has even sat down at the table, let alone shown their cards.

  3. I have no idea what you’re talking about with touring acts avoiding Philips. It already has competition from a newer suburban arena, the Gwinnett Center/Infinite Energy Arena. Are no touring going to Philips now?

  4. This is straight out of the Florida playbook; spend +$100 million on stadium renovation, wait 5-10 years, and then ask for a brand new stadium after construction costs have risen.

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