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Private partners to pick up increase in arena cost

Susan Alanis, from the city manager’s office, gave the council a briefing on the status of the new Dickies Arena under construction during the work session that included a cost increase to $540 million for the project, up from the previously estimated $450 million. Then, later at their evening meeting, the council approved two items connected to the new arena that is expected to open in late 2019.

The council approved the issuance of tax-exempt special tax revenue bonds that will help with the public funding portion of the project, which was to be capped at $225 million with no increase in property, sales or hotel property taxes or with any impact to operating funds and debt capacity.

Alanis said the private partner, Event Facilities, has promised to pick up any additional funding. She called it a philanthropic gift to the city.

“We got a pretty good deal for our $225 million,” she said.

The bonds will also help pay for improvements to other adjacent support facilities throughout the campus of the Will Rogers Memorial Center. They will be sold through a negotiated bid sale with pricing scheduled for a retail order period on June 19 and institutional order period on June 20.

Subsequent to accepting the underwriters’ bid and awarding the sale of the bonds, the City will seek approval of the debt transactions from the Texas Attorney General with an estimated closing date of July 12.

The council also approved the following taxes associated with the new arena:

*An admissions tax of 10 percent on each ticket sold as admission to an event held at the Venue Project.

*A livestock facility use tax of $1 per day for each stall or pen used or occupied during a livestock event in which the venue is used, with a maximum rate of $20 per stall/pen per event.

*A parking tax of 50 percent on each paid motor vehicle parking in a facility serving the venue, with a maximum rate of $5 per day.

Alanis said a parking garage and sales center are expected to open in the fall.

Alanis said the facility has already booked part of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, along with the 2020, 2021 and 2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

“That tells you how excited everyone is,” she said.

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