July 7, 2009

Village in talks to take over Sears Centre

The village of Hoffman Estates. Ill., is in talks to take over the troubled 11,000-seat Sears Centre arena, the city's mayor said.

This isn't good news, Mayor William McLeod told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald in a story published Tuesday.

Built less than three years ago at a cost of $60 million, the arena has failed to produce sufficient revenue, despite bookings by big-name acts and minor-league sports teams, McLeod said.

The Ryan Cos., which own 75 percent of the arena, is having difficulty meeting payments on a $50 million loan backed by Hoffman Estates taxpayers, McLeod said. Sears owns the other 25 percent and pays $1 million a year for the naming rights.

Bringing in a national arena management firm could help the arena succeed and let taxpayers off the hook for the loan, Village Manager James Norris said.

Give us some time to work on how we'll be able to do this, Norris said. Our goal is for it not to go on the property tax bills, obviously.

Ryan officials were not available to comment, the Daily Herald said.