Broadening the campaign for a new Seattle football stadium, representatives of prospective Seahawks owner Paul Allen say the Kingdome’s life is all but over.
In an effort to overcome the public’s reluctance to demolish the 20-year-old facility, Bert Kolde, vice president of Allen’s Football Northwest group, said the building will be a drain on King County’s general fund without professional sports, and eventually will be torn down.
Gov. Gary Locke’s financing plan for a proposed 72,000-seat stadium in place of the Dome, he said, is King County’s only opportunity to unload a money-losing facility.
“This is the county’s one chance to get out from under the ($127 million) debt,” Kolde told The Seattle Times editorial board.
Football Northwest, the group working to buy the Seahawks from California developer Ken Behring, contends the Kingdome has no chance to make money, much less pay for maintenance, improvements or its debt without the Mariners or the Seahawks.
The Mariners plan to leave the building in 1999 or 2000 to begin playing in their new ballpark south of the Kingdome. And Allen, who has a 15-month option to buy the Hawks, said he will not consummate the deal without a new football stadium.
His plans call for demolishing the Kingdome and replacing it with a $402 million stadium project. Included would be a 300,000-square-foot exhibition hall to house home and trade shows.
The governor released a financing plan last week that includes a new 10 percent statewide wholesale tax on sports-logo products and memorabilia, a higher tax rate on King County car rentals and taxes on stadium parking and tickets. Money also would be generated from six football-lottery games, a tax break on construction costs and a county tax credit for the stadium.
Locke’s plan also would allow King County to pay off the Kingdome’s debt even after it has been torn down. About half of the debt is now being repaid by a hotel/motel tax that would be extended three years under the proposal.
New taxes would pay off the rest of the debt. Those payments cost the county $5.6 million a year.
Chiefs pursue Grbac
San Francisco backup quarterback Elvis Grbac and the Kansas City Chiefs have begun contract negotiations, according to Grbac’s agent.
Agent Jim Steiner told The Kansas City Star on Sunday the Chiefs have begun talking contract with Grbac, an unrestricted free agent.
“From a talent perspective, he’s their No. 1 choice,” Steiner said. “Now, they have to be consistent on that with the dollars. We’ve talked in some generalities and parameters on salary. But we haven’t talked specifics. We’re on the same page. We’ve got a ways to go, but that’s the challenge in negotiations, to bridge the gap.”
Falcons trade for Chandler
The Atlanta Falcons acquired quarterback Chris Chandler, a player whom coach Dan Reeves thinks will turn around the beleaguered team, from the Houston Oilers for two undisclosed 1997 draft choices.
“We believe he gives us a chance where we can win immediately,” Reeves said. “We feel like he gives us the ability to compete. He’s a guy who can get the job done.”
Packer begins jail sentence
Green Bay Packers cornerback Tyrone Williams reported to jail to begin serving a six-month sentence for shooting at a car two college championships and a Super Bowl ring ago.
Procedural delays enabled Williams to play at Nebraska and in the NFL after he was charged in the Jan. 30, 1994, shooting.
Gogan officially a 49er
The San Francisco 49ers worked out salary cap problems and signed free agent offensive lineman Kevin Gogan.
Gogan had agreed to the six-year, $12.5 million deal on Wednesday, but had to wait until the 49ers made room for him under the cap. They did so by restructuring the contract of running back Terry Kirby.
Gogan, a 10-year NFL veteran who weighs 320 pounds, spent the last three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Dolphins ink former Cowboy
The Miami Dolphins signed cornerback Clayton Holmes to a one-year contract, reuniting him with coach Jimmy Johnson.
Holmes, 27, was suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy during the 1995 season when he was a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
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