Monday, April 25, 2005

York could get screwed....

This was on the Toronto Star front page on Friday, Apr. 22, 2005. I am not sure if it is true (due to the Star being a crap paper) but if it is, it could suck for York.

Argos drop plan to play at York U
Pre-construction stadium costs rise
Can stay rent-free at Rogers Centre


Toronto's football Argonauts are expected to announce as early as today that they are pulling out of the York University stadium deal.

With the Rogers Centre trying to persuade the reigning Grey Cup champions to stay at the downtown retractable dome stadium with a sweetheart, rent-free deal, Argo owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon are facing rising costs at York.

Originally budgeted at $70 million, with the federal and provincial governments kicking in $35 million, it's believed costs have already climbed upwards of $75 million before a shovel has been stuck in the ground.

The Argos owners were scheduled to contribute $20 million to the stadium through a charitable donation to the York University Foundation, but they have also agreed to cover any unexpected costs or financial overruns.

In essence, Sokolowski and Cynamon could have ended up putting upwards of $30 million into the stadium for fewer than a dozen events per season, with York University still owning the structure.

The Argos were to have moved into the new York facility for the 2007 season but instead they are expected to announce plans to remain at the Rogers Centre and host the '07 Grey Cup game at the dome.

Whether the York stadium will still go ahead is now unclear. The Argos were only expected to need 10 dates a year, with the Canadian Soccer Association and Toronto Lynx soccer club to fill up much of the rest of the calendar.

In theory, the 25,000-seat project could still be downsized to 15,000 seats or less, and thus cost far less to build.

The stadium is committed to co-hosting the 2007 FIFA world youth soccer tournament with Edmonton, but FIFA only requires a minimum 10,000-seat venue for the event.

Whether the federal government, which is to contribute $27 million to the stadium, and the province, on the hook for $8 million, will continue to financially assist the project without the Argos is also unclear.

That would be getting screwed with our pants on. Can they just pull out like that?


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