County issues $273M in stadium bonds

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

BY LUCY MAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hamilton County officials put in place one of the final financing instruments for the Bengals' new stadium Tuesday by selling $273 million in bonds.

The county got an average 5.16 percent interest rate on the bonds, essentially borrowing money at that rate to build the $400.3 million stadium complex.

"It's comforting to know that the marketplace accepts what we're doing," County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus said Tuesday. "Sometimes, that's the truest test."

The county issued $71.6 million in bonds for the stadium in January, when interest rates reached historically low levels. The county got a 4.87 percent average interest rate for that issue.

In all, the county has sold $344.6 million in bonds to pay for the stadium. That's considerably more than the $322.7 million in bonds the county originally planned to issue for the project. Mr. Bedinghaus said the increase is the result of spending about $18 million more on land costs than the county originally budgeted and because of the type of financing the county is using, which results in having to issue more bonds.

The bonds will be paid off using proceeds from a half-cent-on-a-dollar county sales tax increase voters approved in 1996 to fund stadium construction.

Mr. Bedinghaus said county officials remain confident that the sales tax will generate enough money to also build a ballpark for the Reds.

The proceeds from Tuesday's $273 million bond issue will be used to pay remaining land costs and pay for the stadium structure itself, said Suzanne Burck, the county's director of administrative services.



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