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P.R. Coliseum To Be Transferred To Convention Center District Authority

Convention district’s board to have two new members


May 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

While locals will have to wait at least another month for the Puerto Rico Coliseum’s opening, the Legislature is expected to approve in the forthcoming weeks the transfer of the multipurpose facility to the Convention Center District Authority’s (CCDA) control.

Last week, Popular Democratic Party Sen. Jose Ortiz Daliot replaced a bill of his own authorship, which proposed creating a new government agency to oversee the administration of the coliseum, with a bill to transfer the facility from the Government Development Bank to the Convention Center District and to add two new members to its board of directors.

Originally, it was said that the Tourism Co. would manage the coliseum, but Executive Director Jose Suarez said the agency wasn’t willing to accept the $230 million construction debt.

Ortiz Daliot told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that he was pleased with the executive and legislative branches’ proceedings to create the new bill.

During recent weeks, a group of local producers, headed by Angelo Medina and Maritza Casiano, have criticized the government’s decision to hire SMG, the world’s leading entertainment facilities manager, to operate the coliseum. They claimed that leasing costs (up to $85,000 per event) are astronomical and that producers won’t benefit from sponsorships or concessionaires’ sales as they do when producing events at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan or Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in Bayamon.

Daliot said the new board members would ensure that operations at the $230 million coliseum would be conducted appropriately and that the CCDA would be authorized to hire personnel to manage the three-year operating contract with SMG.

"The two new board members, to be appointed by the governor, will represent local producers," said Ortiz Daliot. "That board will be in charge of harmonizing local producers’ requests [concerning sponsorships and leasing fees] with the coliseum’s needs."

In addition, the bill creates two CCDA executive committees: One to work with the Convention Center, and the second (staffed by two board members and a government official) to develop the coliseum’s public policy. In addition, SMG and its subsidiaries are banned from producing events on the island.

Secretary of State Jose Izquierdo, who has been the mediator between local producers and the government in a negotiations committee for the past three weeks, said the coliseum won’t be ready to open on May 29, as was previously reported, because some construction is still pending. No further details were provided.

In terms of the negotiations conducted by the State Department with local producers, Izquierdo said with expansion of the CCDA board of directors, the producers’ claims have been addressed. "The new CCDA is responsible for handling all the producers’ concerns regarding leasing fees and sponsorships, as well as other matters. Another producer’s request to create a professional organization for local producers is still pending in the Legislature," said Izquierdo.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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