Atlanta taxpayers questioning Philips Arena funding
Posted June 30
ATLANTA, GA — Mayor Kasim Reed says the deal with Philips Arena ensures that the Atlanta Hawks remain in the City of Atlanta for decades to come and will maintain Philips Arena, a keystone of Downtown Atlanta, as a highly competitive venue for sports and entertainment events.
Mayor Reed announced the deal terms for the $192.5 million transformation of Philips Arena. Specifically:
The public contribution for arena renovations is capped at $142.5 million, of which $110 million will come from a series of bonds backed by the recently expanded car rental tax collected at the CONRAC (Car Rental Facility) at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and other facilities throughout the City. An additional $32.5 million will come from the City's proceeds of the sale of Turner Field to Georgia State University and Carter and from the liquidation of other underutilized City assets. No money from the City's general fund will be used on this project.
The Atlanta Hawks will contribute $50 million to the renovations of the arena.
No property taxes or new taxes of any kind would be paid by or levied on City of Atlanta residents or businesses to fund renovations of the arena. The City of Atlanta will not serve as a backstop for this debt associated with the renovations of the arena and this agreement will not affect the city's bond capacity or credit capacity.
"Combined, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Hawks organization will invest $192.5 million into the renovation, generating jobs and additional economic activity throughout the process. I believe the decision to invest in this asset will be one of the most consequential moves for Downtown Atlanta in decades." says Mayor Reed.
But Atlanta taxpayers feel like this money should have been invested in their communities.
Maurice Rosemond lives in Vine City and he is frustrated with the City Council.
"It makes me question the whole government for the people by the people," says Rosemond. "If you can take the people's money and invest it in a new sporting facility and it really doesn't benefit the people as a whole."
The Hawks will start the modernization of Philips Arena this summer, and the transformation will be completed by the start of 2018-2019 season, coinciding with the Hawks' 50th Anniversary in Atlanta.
The Hawks will play next season at Philips.
Originally constructed as a multi-purpose facility and opened in 1999, Philips Arena annually ranks among the most-programmed venues in the country, after Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center in New York City and Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to Pollstar's rankings.
Philips Arena hosts approximately 170 events per year, including most of the biggest musical acts, family shows including the circus and ice shows, and Hawks home games.
Philips employs approximately 1,500 staff per event, including 300 full-time employees and 1,200 part-time employees. More than 1.6 million fans and customers attend events at Philips Arena every year, with those numbers expected to increase significantly in the next two to five years.
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