The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

RoughRiders and City Hall ready to formalize 2-year lease extension at city’s Ice Arena

In Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, City Hall on April 19, 2008 at 2:05 am

Upcoming on Wednesday, the City Council is expected to formally approve a 2-year lease extension with Rough Riders Hockey LLC, the owner of the local United States Hockey League team and the principal tenant of the city-owned Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

The extension of the existing lease is an acknowledgment that the parties — the hockey team owners and the city through its Five Seasons Facilities Commission and arena manager, Venuworks — could not agree on the details of a new long-term lease.

According to a memo to the council from city staff, the parties will agree as part of the proposed lease extension to work to negotiate a new long-term agreement or the city will commence such negotiations with a new owner should the team be sold.

As part of the lease extension, the RoughRiders agree to pay an annual lease payment of $158,000 plus an additional $7,200 for rent on office space. The team also pays a 50-cent-per-ticket facility fee on most tickets, which generates an estimated $15,000 for the city, Patrick DePalma, chairman of the city’s Five Seasons Facilities Commission, reports.

DePalma said the city also gets a share of food and beverage revenue, while the team gets the revenue from tickets, advertising and arena suites.

He called the lease “fair and reasonable.” Some teams in the RoughRiders league pay less rent, but those teams often get less for advertising and suite revenue, he added.

The current lease was set to expire April 30. The parties in recent months indicated that they would extend the current lease while the owners pondered the sale of the hockey team.

“I am told,” DePalma said, that the RoughRiders’ owners are seeking potential buyers of the team.

He said he had “every expectation” that the Cedar Rapids arena would be home to a team in the years ahead.

The lease-extension proposal has been placed on the routine part of the council’s Wednesday agenda called the consent agenda. Items placed there typically are approved without discussion.

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  1. The city needs to look into getting a local group of community leaders together to look into buying the team. Local ownership will bring an excitement and loyality back to the fans and taxpayers. The team has done well here in Cedar Rapids and has a bright future ahead.

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