Priced to sell out

City Manager John Ware ramrods a patched-together arena deal

"They haven't gotten definite on that," Ware said with his usual vagueness.
Well, perhaps we should have demanded some definition. But that's not the taxpayers' problem. If Perot wants underground parking so he has room for more lucrative private development around the arena, he ought to pay for it himself.

Secondly, if Lot E--the much-talked-about, half-Ray-Hunt-owned property located between Reunion Arena and the Dallas Convention Center--is selected, there's already a big, fat parking garage sitting there. We built it for Ray Hunt when he, like Perot, "promised" to develop the land around our sports arena two decades ago. Hunt never lived up to his part of the deal, and we've been losing money on that garage ever since.

Under any scenario you choose here, the taxpayers should not be subsidizing an underground parking garage--or agreeing to a $230 million arena that hasn't been designed yet. So what happens if there's a whopping construction surplus after the arena is built? Who gets to keep the money? Team lawyers, of course, are insisting they do; city lawyers are throwing that point back to Ware to negotiate with Hicks and Perot. Which--if Ware's track record here is any indication--means the teams will get their way.

Last week, I asked Ware if he felt he had any leverage during the negotiations. Considering the miserable deal he'd cut, I figured his answer would be no. But instead, his answer was cocky, his voice jaunty: "Who the hell is going to buy a club seat, or pay $150,000 for a luxury box, in Arlington, Texas?"

A lot of people, one can only hope. Otherwise, Perot and Hicks are laughing harder than we think.

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