Kent Council votes on center Thursday
by Steve Hunter
Construction of an events center in Kent could start as soon as next week if the City Council votes i n a special meeting Thursday to approve the final cost of the facility. The public meeting starts 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Meanwhile, the naming rights to the arena have yet to be secured by Amiga, Inc., which is on the hook to pay $2.5 million by Thursday to obtain those rights.
The City Council will receive an update on the proposed events center from city staff Thursday and decide whether to approve the maximum allowable construction cost. Those costs were unavailable at press time Monday. Earlier estimates put the cost of the 6,025-seat arena at $67 million.
“If the Council gives us the approval to authorize construction, we can begin to mobilize next week,” City Administrator John Hodgson said on Monday.
The events center would be built at the Commons Playfields, a 17.5-acre site on West James Street just down the street from Kent Commons.
Even if the price comes in higher than the original estimate, Hodgson said the Council will have options to delay other projects in the city’s capital budget in order to pay for the events center.
Two projects that might be delayed include short-term improvements to Kent’s jail and the construction of a new fire station on Washington Avenue in the valley, Hodgson said.
Final bids from contractors to build the foundation and structure of the arena were due July 20. Those bids will help determine the final maximum allowable construction cost that the Council would vote on. The foundation and the structure will represent about 25 percent of the budget.
The Council on Thursday also will consider authorizing Mayor Suzette Cooke to sign a contract with the Seattle Thunderbirds to operate out of the events center. The Thunderbirds, a member of the Western Hockey League, would move to the events center from KeyArena in Seattle for the 2008-2009 season. The events center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2008.
Most of the funds for the center’s construction will come from fees collected from events and activities at the arena. The state will pay about $28 million through a public facilities district that allows Kent to keep the state’s share of the sales tax collected in the city. Details of the public facilities district will be presented to the Council on Thursday.
Naming rights: Amiga Inc., must pay $2.5 million by Thursday in order to keep its agreement with the city for naming rights to the proposed events center.
“If the money is not available by Thursday, we will recommend to the Council to move on from Amiga,” Hodgson said.
The city and the Thunderbirds continue to negotiate with Amiga, a computer software company with offices in Issaquah and New York, on naming rights. Amiga agreed in April to pay the city $10 million over 20 years, including an initial payment of $2.5 million for the rights to call the facility the Amiga Center at Kent.
The city initially asked Amiga to make the $2.5 million payment the day construction begins, but now wants the payment before construction starts following news reports that revealed past financial troubles for the company.
Amiga has communicated with the city, but as of Monday had yet to pay the $2.5 million, Hodgson said.
Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Amiga Future 145 was released on the July 2nd.
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Published 31.07.2007 - 09:31 by AndreasM
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