VOL. 112 | NO. 212 | Wednesday, November 18, 1998
Approval was given by the Center City Revenue Finance Corp
$75 million bond issue will spark park construction
By KATHLEEN BURT
The Daily News
The issuance of $75 million in bonds to finance construction of AutoZone Park has been approved by the Center City Revenue Finance Corp.
The CCRFC unanimously approved a resolution at its Tuesday meeting to issue the bonds.
Members of the Memphis Redbirds Foundation said they hope to finalize the deal by years end and begin the 14 months of construction in January.
Play is scheduled to begin in the new 12,500-seat stadium in April 2000, said Chris Jernigan, a representative with the Memphis Redbirds Foundation.
"As we say everywhere, you all can throw out the first pitch," Jernigan quipped. "That puts it up to about 1,500 first pitches."
The bonds will be issued in two series. The Series A bonds will total about $22 million and will be sold initially in $100,000 denominations. Series B bonds will total about $50 million.
The bonds will finance constructing the stadium at Third Street and Union Avenue, bringing the Triple A franchise to the city and setting up offices.
The Memphis Redbirds Foundation was approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501C3 non-profit organization. It is the first sports franchise to receive that designation.
The first series of bonds will be "low floaters" with the interest rate reset every seven days by First Tennessee, which is the remarking agent for the series. The bonds are set on a 15-year term.
The Series B bonds have a 6.5 percent interest set on a 30-year term. Morgan Keegan is the placement agent on the second series of bonds.
SunTrust Bank of Florida is the trustee on the agreement and will oversee how the money flows.
The CCRFC will enter into an indenture agreement in the deal, but its liability is limited should the deal unravel, said James McLaren, legal counsel to the CCRFC.
The package includes the 200,000-square-foot William R. Moore building, which is currently owned by the Center City Development Corp.
Parkway Properties, a Jackson, Miss.-based real estate investment trust, is negotiating to buy the building and will in turn lease it to the foundation.
Plans are to close on deal for the Moore Building on the same day the rest of the Redbirds package is inked.
The building will contain the foundation offices, the headquarters for Storage USA and the offices of architects Looney Ricks Kiss.
Dean Jernigan, chief executive officer of Storage USA, is the impetus behind bringing a Triple A franchise to Memphis.
The Redbirds will spend one more season in Tim McCarver Stadium at the Fairgrounds before moving to AutoZone Park.
The team played its 1998 season at the park, which was home to the Double A Memphis Chicks.