Stadium authority to take on more debt $4.6 million in bonds puts agency back at limit

November 26, 1997|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Stadium Authority, moving to take advantage of low interest rates and its need for money to build the Ravens stadium, is preparing to sell another $4.6 million in bonds.

The new debt, backed by stadium revenue and the state's sports lottery, will take the stadium authority back up to its statutory limit of $235 million in outstanding debt, a limit set in 1987. The state agency had hit that limit last year with issuance of football stadium bonds, but payments of interest and principal had whittled the outstanding debt by nearly $5 million.

The stadium authority approved the documents for the new bond issue on Monday and will send it to the Board of Public Works for final approval.

Included in the documents is a plan of financing revised to take into account the football stadium's cost overruns. The stadium, initially estimated to cost $200 million, is projected to come in at $220 million.

The additional $20 million was raised by selling to the Ravens the naming rights to the stadium for $10 million and convincing the team to accelerate payment of contributions demanded by the General Assembly.

Lawmakers demanded $24 million from the team, but did not specify terms. The team and stadium authority agreed on a 30-year schedule of equal payments, worth, in current dollars, a total of about $12 million. The Ravens have agreed to pay $10 million upfront, to help with construction.

The revised financing plan shows that Orioles revenues, because of high attendance and ticket price increases, are running ahead of projections. The team's rent is based on a revenue-sharing formula.

Partly as a result, the state now projects it will need a few million dollars less in annual lottery proceeds beginning in the year 2000.

Pub Date: 11/26/97

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