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Comcast Arena gets a helping push from city

Doug Ramsay photo

In this bird's-eye view of Comcast Arena from a catwalk of the rafters, the Everett Silvertips conduct a pre-season practice in the arena’s main ice rink. The Silvertips, which start their season this month, are a staple draw for the arena.

EVERETT — The city plans to leverage its top notch credit rating to put one of Comcast Arena’s long-term bond debts under the city’s wing.
Everett intends to refinance a $27 million debt on Comcast Arena funded by the arena’s revenues. This puts the city’s debts in addition to an $8 million bond the city took out to buy land for the arena.
The move is because the bank that issued the arena a letter of credit will drop the credit at the end of the year, and the city is legally obligated to not allow the arena’s board to default. 
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan at its Wednesday, Oct. 8 meeting.
The move puts the city on the hook for paying out the debt costs. Comcast Arena’s board would be required to reimburse the city for principal and interest payments made.
Comcast Arena’s general manager Rick Comeau said the arena’s revenues are up and expenses are down.
The arena’s budget remains steady.
Comcast Arena recently inked a deal with heavyweight concert promoter Live Nation to bring national acts to Everett. The first was a sellout show of top 40 pop band OneRepublic in June, which had 7,000 people.
Pop acts Demi Lovato and Phillip Phillips are set to play Thursday, Oct. 2 and Tuesday, Oct. 21 respectively.
Comeau also pointed to sellout events such as EnduroCross motorcycle racing as examples that Comcast Arena is succeeding. 
The Everett Silvertips hockey team, which start their season Sept. 21, is a staple draw to the arena.
The city shopped around and its best credit offer came from JPMorgan bank. Refinancing with city credit would lower the interest rate by 0.1 percent, city finance manager Susy Haugen said.
Taking on the debt would not impact the city’s debt limit ceiling, which impacts the city’s equivalent to a credit score. In other words, doing this will not tap out the city’s ability to take on other debts.
There are three bonds out in relation to Comcast Arena overall: The city’s $8 million bond for buying land for the arena, a $22 million bond backed by a sales tax credit provided by the state and the $27 million bond tied to the arena’s operating revenue.

Arena: No comment on caterer’s dog abuse incident
Comcast Arena’s Comeau had no comment last week on news that surfaced of a food service company’s CEO caught on video abusing a dog.
Centerplate Catering is contracted to run food service at Comcast Arena. The arena is one of Centerplate’s numerous contracts with stadiums and event centers nationwide.
Outraged fans have called their local stadiums to drop their contracts with the catering company.
Centerplate last week censured its CEO with a $100,000 fine and demanded that he volunteer 1,000 hours of community service after he was caught on tape kicking a cowering Doberman Pinscher.

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