There was a significant development on Wednesday as Phantoms ownership signed a 29-year lease with the city of Allentown. For those who still may wonder if the move is really happening, this should erase all doubt.
It's now a question of whether the arena will be ready for the start of the 2013-14 season, or if the project takes longer.
The best place to get all the details on the new deal is in stories by The Allentown Morning Call and The Express-Times. I wrote a summary of their accounts for Thursday's paper. You can find it below:
According to two Pennsylvania newspapers, the owners of the Adirondack Phantoms signed a 29-year lease for a planned arena in Allentown on Wednesday.
Per The Express-Times of Easton, the Brooks Group will invest $33.5 million in the project over the course of the lease. That includes $6.7 million in rent payments over 29 years, an $8 million capital contribution, $500,000 annually for capital improvements and an annual payment of $100,000 for city services.
The Express-Times reported that the Brooks Group will receive all revenue from advertising and sales of tickets, food, concessions, and has the option of purchasing the arena when the lease ends.
The proposed arena will seat 8,500 and is projected to cost $157.9 million, according to The Morning Call of Allentown.
Demolition work has begun on the site. The papers have reported previously that an opening in time for the 2013-14 season is targeted, though the project could end up taking longer to complete
Jim Brooks, who co-owns the Brooks Group with his brother Rob, told The Express-Times that he hopes to draw another sports tenant to the arena, possibly indoor foortball or soccer, or an NBA Developmental League team.
The Phantoms are under contract to remain in Glens Falls through the end of next season. The team has options to remain longer if the arena in Allentown is not completed by then.