Officials Nearing Deal to Fund $567M Birmingham Stadium

Wed June 22, 2005 - Southeast Edition
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (AP) After years of disagreement about how to pay for a $567- million proposed domed stadium, Birmingham and Jefferson County officials said they are close to a financing deal for the sports, convention and entertainment complex.

Officials from the city, county, state and Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) met June 2 on the issue.

“I view this as the most important opportunity we have in the early 21st century to jump-start our city,” Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid said. “I look forward to working with each of you to make this happen.”

Kincaid and County Commission President Larry Langford said the City Council and County Commission will vote this month on funding for the project.

The county’s legislative delegation said it will ask the state to participate after the city and county commit.

The BJCC board already has $10.3 million a year earmarked for the project from county and state taxes and fees. The board wants the county to pay $10 million annually for 30 years.

Kincaid and BJCC Interim Director Jack Fields said the city and BJCC are close to an agreement for Birmingham to provide $8 million annually for 30 years.

Tennessee developer Franklin Haney Sr. has agreed to provide $80 million if he can work out a deal with the state to lease a building he owns downtown.

The BJCC board also wants $20 million in a lump sum from the state. If the city and county approve funding, the legislative delegation will then request that state money during this summer’s special legislative session, said state Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham and state Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills.

Fields said the project would create 8,220 jobs during construction and 3,400 permanent jobs five years after it opens. He said the new center would have an annual economic impact of $128 million by its fifth year.