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$39m bond deal puts soccer stadium plan on track.

The Hudson County Improvement Authority recently announced that $39.4 million in revenue bonds were sold to finance the land acquisition for the new 25,000-seat Red Bull Park, which will be the home of the New York Red Bulls Major League soccer team and the entertainment component of Advance Realty Group's multi-use Harrison MetroCentre, a three-million-square-foot redevelopment project in Harrison, New Jersey.

The sale clears the way for AEG, one of the world's leading sports and entertainment companies, and Red Bull Company Limited, the Austrian company that produces the world's leading energy drink, to begin construction of the new stadium, which is expected to break ground in September 2006 and open its doors in 2008.

Peter B. Higgins, chairman, Harrison Redevelopment Agency said, "This bond sale and the subsequent construction start-up continues the positive forward momentum of the Harrison MetroCentre project.

"When fully completed, Harrison MetroCentre will be a city within a city that features wide boulevards with street level retail outlets and cafes, an entertainment area with the new Red Bull Park as its centerpiece, a riverfront park and recreation area, as well as other amenities that will make Harrison MetroCentre an exciting place to live, work and play."

The bond sale consisted of over $30.5 million in tax-exempt bonds and over $8.8 million in taxable bonds, with all "AAA" rated (a Moodys Investors Service rating) bonds possessing a final maturity date of 2038 and a true interest cost of 5.08 percent. Repayment of the bonds will be made from future payments in lieu of tax receipts from the major redevelopment efforts occurring in Harrison.

MBIA provided bond insurance and the bonds were guaranteed by Hudson County. Annual debt service payments on the bonds begin in 2010 and are approximately $3.1 million per year.

Key players in the bond sale included McManimon & Scotland, bond counsel; NW Financial Group, financial advisor; and William Netchert, general counsel. The bonds were purchased by a group of three underwriters, including Roosevelt & Cross, PNC Capital Markets and Powell Capital Markets. DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole and Wisler served as underwriter's counsel.

Red Bull Park is a major component of Advance Realty Group's multi-billion dollar Harrison MetroCentre, which will feature mid-rise and hi-rise Class A office space, 3,500 residential units, 300,000 s/f of retail space, and over 10,000 decked parking spaces when Phase I and II are completely built-out.

Phase I of Harrison MetroCentre is scheduled to begin in July 2006, when Advance will start site demolition and remediation followed by construction of roadways and utilities in the fall.

Demolition work for the stadium portion of Phase I is slated for September 2006, while vertical construction for Phase I of the entire project is expected to begin in early 2007.

Overall, Phase I will include over 850 residential units, 160,000 s/f of retail, up to 200,000 s/ff of office development, and the new stadium.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 9, 2006
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