Sunday, July 13, 2014

Authority to bid out new roof for arena

Money is in place for project, but it could affect plans for an expansion.

June 13. 2013 12:16AM

By - - (570) 991-6120

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The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority will hold a special public meeting at noon July 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to award the contract for installing a new arena roof. Its next regularly scheduled meeting will be at noon July 10.

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WILKES-BARRE — A bid notice will be issued Friday for a new roof on the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, and the extent of that project could effect the proposed expansion of the nearly 15-year-old facility.

The board of the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority that oversees the arena voted at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday to advertise for the roof.

The project would be paid out of the $12.6 million the authority borrowed last year to re-fund a prior bond and to make capital improvements. Out of that, the authority spent about $1.3 million for a new scoreboard and what’s left after the roof will go toward the proposed 20,000-square-foot expansion that a consultant said should be home to a brew pub and club for members and private events.

Last month the board hired experts at a cost not to exceed $100,000 to inspect the roof, which has been leaking.The contractor selected for the job must abide by a project labor agreement that ensures unionized workers are hired in return for a promise that there are no work stoppages.

The board will award the contract at noon July 2 during a special meeting at the arena.

Board Chairwoman Donna Cupinski assured the other board members no additional borrowing is necessary for the roofing work. “The money is in place,” she told board member Angelo Answini, who pressed for specifics on the cost of the expansion.

Answini said he was under the impression the expansion space would be leased.

But Ronald Gorodesky, president of Paoli-based Restaurant Advisory Services Inc., which prepared a feasibility study for the board, said that wasn’t an option. “There’s no real market for leasing out this facility,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, it should not be built,” Answini said.

Gorodesky recommended the board partner with a brewer to make alcoholic beverages on site and offer casual dining with entrees under $20. The pub and adjacent club would each have seating for about 250 people, be open only for events and be located in the proposed expansion between the east and west entrances.

According to his calculations, he said, the arena could see $2 million in incremental revenues from the expansion.

The board commissioned the $20,000 study to determine how to capture some of the money spent by patrons.

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