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Funding shortfall may force Rose Bowl to postpone upgrades

July 17, 2012 | 10:24 am

Rose Bowl renovations
The ongoing upgrade of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena has hit a snag after officials disclosed a funding gap of $37.6 million.

Rose Bowl officials said Saturday that they may have to postpone about $14-million worth of work and may seek a loan of $28.6 million to solve the shortfall.

Pasadena City Councilman Victor Gordo, who is also president of the Rose Bowl Operating Co., said at a meeting Saturday that negotiations with the Tournament of Roses and UCLA are ongoing to determine what work may be postponed, the Pasadena Sun reported.

Officials are also looking at extending the project a year past the original Jan. 1, 2014, deadline.

Crews already have installed new electronic signboards and made extensive progress in building new luxury seating and an expanded press box, but have yet to complete work on six new concession stands and tunnels that connect walkways to stadium seats.

A decision on delaying some aspects of the job is expected within the next two weeks. Rose Bowl leaders said they need to quickly define the work to be done in the next phase of construction and to secure a loan by October.

"We need action," said Darryl Dunn, chief executive and general manager of the Rose Bowl Operating Co. "It needs to be right, but we do have time pressures."

The cost of the project is now pegged at $176.9 million, roughly $25 million more than originally estimated and $1.9 million more than expected as recently as a month ago. Even as the endeavor got off the ground, it incurred a $12-million deficit because a bond sale to launch the project brought in less revenue than expected.

Rose Bowl leaders say the loan is required because revenue the stadium is expected to bring in won't arrive for two to seven years.

Private fundraising and revenue from hosting the Bowl Championship Series is expected to bring in another $23 million.

Officials seem to be leaning toward taking a loan from a bank using a guarantee from the city of Pasadena, rather than turning to foreign investors or acquiring a loan directly from the city.

Andy Green, Pasadena's finance director, said that a loan would be the quickest funding source, adding that tapping the city's strained general fund is out of the question.


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-- Adolfo Flores, Times Community News

Photo: Renovations continue at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Officials are trying to close a $37.6-million gap to upgrade the stadium. Credit: Raul Roa /Times Community News