Local News

Fines May Add Up if Raleigh Arena is Not Completed on Time

Posted January 24, 1999

— Throw enough money at some problems and you will be able to fix them. Raleigh's new arena may put that theory to the test.

If the arena is not ready in time, there will be millions in fines, late fees and by-the-hour lawyers. You may end up paying part of the bill.

If the arena comes in two months late, like they are talking about now, the fines will start at $600,000.

That does not even touch the potential scheduling problems. TheHurricanestold WRAL they have moved all four of their pre-season games out of town.

Many hope the building is ready by the date it was promised.

It has a roof. It's getting walls, and they're working on the inside. But, the chairman of the construction committee for Raleigh's new arena says the most realistic date for completion is Oct. 28.

"That doesn't work. The building has to be open," said Dean Jordan of Gale Force Holdings, the parent company of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jordan says the Hurricanes paid millions to accelerate construction for theirNHLhome opener in mid-October. They need the building by September for the massive task of moving in.

"If they think the building, truly believe the building can't be open until October, then maybe instead of worrying about telling everybody, we should be figuring out how to get it done before October, because anything in October is not acceptable," said Jordan.

Contractors face hefty fines if the building is not ready by September. Some worry that the built-in penalties will have an impact beyond the builders.

"I fear that this is just going to end up in a tangle of lawsuits that will take years to resolve. The taxpayers are going to be the ones that will bear the burden of that, because they won't get the revenue stream that's supposed to come back to them when this building is open and running," saidRaleighMayor Tom Fetzer.

"If everyone just focuses on getting the building open when it's supposed to be open instead of running around saying the sky is falling, then we might have a pretty good chance of getting it done," said Jordan.

There is a ton of money at stake for the naming rights to the new arena.

The "name game" is not something you could probably afford to play.N.C. Stateput the value between $5 million and $10 million. It could be more.

In May of 1997, the man who owns the Hurricanes claimed he did not want any part in the "name game."

Peter Karmanos told the Associated Press that the naming rights are N.C. State's.

He says he has a problem with some of the corporate names that have been attached to arenas.


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