Thursday, June 3, 2010

RAD Approves SEA Refinancing of 1999 Stadium Bond

At Tuesday’s board meeting, the Allegheny Regional Asset District approved a request from the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority to refinance a 1999 bond issue totaling $176.5 million.

The SEA also plans to refinance a separate bond issue of $186 million.

RAD Executive Director David Donahoe says the SEA will refinance the bonds next month to take advantage of lower rates.

Donahoe says the bonds were originally issued to fund the renovation of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the construction of Heinz Field and PNC Park.

He says the proceeds, estimated at $5 million, will be used to buy out the lease on the Convention Center’s air conditioning system and pay for other renovation costs.

“Once they do that, they will be able to lower their operating budget and therefore decrease the amount of subsidy that is required for the Convention Center,” says Donahoe. “So the District Board agreed to do that, and they hope to achieve that by a sale of about $177 million in bonds in July.”

Donahoe says if the SEA can sell more bonds, they will use the additional proceeds to pay for routine capital maintenance at the Convention Center.

Unless positive revenue trends reverse, the RAD Board of Directors also plans to release funds they are withholding from the region’s “major assets.” Donahoe says every year, the District holds back 10% of the funding for some recipients until it’s sure that it can cover all of its commitments.

Donahoe says the withheld money will be disbursed in July if a review of June and July revenue proves favorable, which he says has been the trend for the first five months of the year.

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