Football stadium cost put at $223M Inflation, overruns included in figures

August 12, 1998|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

The final bills are not yet in, but it appears the Ravens' stadium will end up costing $223 million, putting the cost of the city's two-stadium complex at more than $500 million.

The football price tag is slightly above projections from even last year, but it includes some items paid for by the team or other organizations. It does not include the nearly $6 million light rail station or the costs of the land underneath the building, which was purchased and cleared before the 1992 opening of Oriole Park.

With those costs included, including half the Camden Yards land, the football project cost about $279 million. Interest on the bonds used to finance the job will total about $100 million over the next 30 years.

Maryland Stadium Authority executive director Bruce Hoffman said construction costs will probably stay at $223 million.

"We haven't gotten all the bills in yet, but I'm pretty confident we won't go over that," he said.

The budget includes some money set aside for contingencies, which are hard to predict. A contractor could file a claim for more money, or other matters could come up, he said.

When the deal was signed to bring the Cleveland Browns to the city in 1995, the state agreed to spend $200 million on a stadium -- $190 million for design and construction and $10 million for acquisition of land for parking.

Last year, however, poor productivity on the concrete work and inflation drove up the project cost to an estimated $220 million, even though the land acquisition came in a bit under budget.

The state raised the additional $20 million from the team in two transactions. It sold the rights to name the stadium to the team for $10 million, an investment the Ravens could easily triple by reselling the rights to a corporate sponsor.

Also, the state agreed to accept early payment from the team on a $24 million obligation demanded by the General Assembly in 1996. Lawmakers passed a spending measure calling for the team to contribute $24 million, and the stadium authority, in turn, to pay $24 million toward school construction down the road.

The bill didn't specify the terms, however. The stadium authority and team struck an agreement last year that valued the $24 million as if the Ravens made annual payments of $800,000 in each of the 30 years of their lease.

Using something financiers call "present value," the state and team determined those payments would be equivalent to $12 million in today's dollars. The team paid $10 million of that last year, and will pay the remaining $2 million over the term of the lease.

The stadium authority, meanwhile, must contribute $2.4 million a year for 10 years beginning in the year 2001 for school construction. Hoffman said he would use other revenues from the stadiums to pay those bills when they come due.

The Ravens also contributed $1 million to the nearly $6 million cost of the new light rail station, and covered a few miscellaneous items as well.

The stadium concessionaire, Fine Host of Greenwich, Conn., helped with the bills, too. The company, which was hired by the Ravens, agreed to make one of the $10 million payments to the state on behalf of the Ravens last year. The team will repay Fine Host over time by allowing it to keep a higher percentage of the revenue earned at the stadium.

Fine Host also chipped in $2.2 million for a special kitchen to prepare food for club level and skybox patrons.

If the football estimate holds up, Camden Yards will end up costing $502.5 million, more than twice the estimates made when lawmakers passed the funding measure in 1986, although the football stadium was built years later than anticipated after inflation had driven up all costs.

Purchasing and clearing the land for Camden Yards in the late 1980s cost $99.9 million, including the relocation of two dozen companies on the site.

Relocating some train tracks and rehabbing the Camden Station cost $18.6 million, roadwork around the site was $48.2 million, and the Oriole Park light rail station was about $300,000 (the football station was more costly because it includes a pedestrian bridge over the tracks).

Constructing Oriole Park cost $106.5 million. The Orioles contributed $9 million to the cost of their stadium, financed by the stadium authority.

Interest on the bonds for the land and both stadiums will total $355.9 million over 30 years.

This will be repaid with revenues from stadium operations -- rents paid by the teams, ticket taxes paid by fans, and income from non-game events held at the facilities -- as well as through the Maryland lottery's four-times-a-year stadium instant games. Baltimore city contributes $1 million a year from its share of the ticket tax.

It's your call

What do you think of Baltimore's new football stadium? Write The Sun and let us know. The best responses will be published in a special edition of The Sun to be sold only at the stadium on its official opening, Sept. 6. Please keep responses brief; anything beyond 300 words is unlikely to be published. Be sure to include a daytime phone number. Letters should be received by Aug. 24. Send letters to:

Ravens Stadium

Sports Department

The Baltimore Sun

501 N. Calvert St.

Baltimore, Md.


Letters also can be sent via e-mail to:

Camden costs


Land acquisition and business relocation: $99.9 million

Relocation of train tracks and rehab of Camden Station: $18.6 million

Road work: $48.2 million Oriole Park construction: $106.5 million

Light rail station: $300,000


Ravens stadium: $223 million

Light rail station: $6 million

Total $502.5 million

Source: Maryland Stadium Authority

Pub Date: 8/12/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.