September 4, 2013

Civic Center board to meet about Portland Pirates lease

The emergency meeting comes after the Pirates nixed a 5-year deal.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The board of the Cumberland County Civic Center will meet early Wednesday to discuss its derailed lease negotiations with its prime tenant.

click image to enlarge

Neal Pratt, Chairman of the Cumberland County Civic Center Trustees, has scheduled an emergency meeting after the Portland Pirates hockey team last week rejected what arena officials said was their final offer.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

Neal Pratt, the chairman of the Civic Center's board, said he scheduled an emergency meeting to update board members about the lease after the Portland Pirates hockey team last week rejected what arena officials said was their final offer.

The two sides had agreed on the outline of a five-year lease in April, but it unraveled after state liquor officials said the team could not share in alcohol sales revenue with the Civic Center.

State liquor officials said that money could only go to the building's owner.

The Civic Center had, in the proposed lease, agreed for the first time to split concession revenue with the American Hockey League team. The Pirates were to get 57.5 percent of the combined food and alcohol sales.

After state officials rejected the alcohol revenue-sharing, the two sides negotiated for four months to find a new formula, with the Civic Center approving a final proposal of 65 percent of the food sales revenue.

Brian Petrovek, the managing owner of the Pirates, said that wasn't enough to offset the loss of alcohol revenue and he refused to sign the lease by last Thursday's deadline.

Petrovek said he may shift all of next season's home games to the Colisee in Lewiston, where the Pirates are playing while the Civic Center's $34 million renovation is completed. The arena is scheduled to reopen in January.

Pratt has said the Civic Center will start looking for alternative acts to play in the arena since the Pirates rejected the lease.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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