$1,000 initiation fee approved for exclusive stadium club Authority expects $250,000 for coffers

October 22, 1991|By Sandy Banisky

The Maryland Stadium Authority approved plans yesterday for another exclusive downtown establishment: This one a stadium club, providing first-class restaurant fare only for Orioles season-ticket holders willing to pay $1,000 down and $45 a month.

Herbert J. Belgrad, Stadium Authority chairman, said the stadium club could bring the authority $250,000 a year in revenues atop the lease payments that the Orioles will pay for use of the new Camden Yards ballpark.

"It all goes with the mandate from the state to maximize private investment," Mr. Belgrad said.

The new stadium club, to be set on the seventh and eighth floors of the B&O railroad warehouse, will be limited to 750 members. To join, they must pay a $1,000 initiation fee, plus a $45 monthly membership fee and an additional minimum $35-a-month charge for food and drink.

The club will seat 200 to 225 people for lunch and dinner and will provide food comparable to first-class restaurants, said Bruce H. Hoffman, the Stadium Authority's executive director.

But non-members will be able to hire the club for special events, such as banquets and weddings. "It's a nice amenity to the ballpark," Mr. Hoffman said. "And it's a good deal for the Stadium Authority."

ARA/Martin's Stadium Concession Services Joint Venture, the stadium concessionaire, will invest $2 million in equipment and furnishings. ARA/Martin's will be responsible for all maintenance, cleaning and utilities.

Under the agreement approved yesterday -- which also has been approved by the Orioles but still needs ARA/Martin's final endorsement -- the Orioles will take 10 percent of the club's food and beverage revenues.

The $1,000 initiation fee goes to the Orioles, which must pay part of the proceeds into a fund to finance club improvements. The $45 monthly fees are split by the Orioles and the Stadium Authority under the agreement.

With 750 members paying $45 a month, the Stadium Authority's annual share of those fees alone should come to $202,500. Mr. Hoffman said the authority believes it can make another $40,000 or $50,000 a year by renting the club for special events.

Yesterday, the Stadium Authority also approved a $24.4 million budget for fiscal 1993, a budget substantially smaller than the $69.1 million budget for this year. The decrease reflects the drop in construction costs, which total $64.6 million this year but will amount to only $16.6 million next year, when the stadium will be open.

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