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University Arena Deal Falls Through

Fri October 26, 2007 - Southeast Edition
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CONWAY, S.C. (AP) A deal to build a new 7,000-seat arena at Coastal Carolina University has fallen through after the developer failed to meet certain requirements like starting construction at the beginning of this month.

The Coastal Educational Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports the university and owns the tract where the arena was to be built, said the developer also failed to meet at least 17 other requirements in its lease.

The university spent nearly $1 million preparing the site, which was to hold graduations, basketball games and other Coastal Carolina sporting events and concerts.

“Obviously, I’m very disappointed for everyone: the community, Coastal Carolina University and the group that was putting this all together,” said university athletics director Warren Koegel. “This is something we all worked hard to make happen.”

Coastal Carolina signed the deal with Coastal Carolina Arena LLC in November 2005.

“We respect their decision but we will continue to explore other available sites in the immediate area. We don’t think we’re dead yet,” lead developer John Gandy said.

Some other sticking points in the deal included the developers saying they might need to extend the lease from 30 to 40 years and a disagreement over whether the university or developers were supposed to build two basketball practice courts, offices and locker and weight rooms in the university’s 26,000-sq.-ft. practice gym that was to be built adjacent to the arena.

University and foundation officials said they still want to see an arena on campus.

“In my opinion, it’s going to take some sort of public-private partnership similar to the one with CCA,” said university Executive Vice President Edgar Dyer. “I’m not sure that we have the capital for such a project and even if we have the capital, I don’t know if the board would make an arena a top priority.”

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