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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

Cost of Coliseum Quake Repairs Hits $72 Million and Is Still Rising

November 03, 1994|KENNETH REICH

The director of earthquake repairs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum said Wednesday that the federal- and state-financed project has cost $72.1 million so far, and that costs will continue to mount as a new press box is installed and other work done.

The new cost figure provided by Don C. Webb was $12.1 million above the last estimate made in August and means that the repair has cost more than twice what was originally estimated in January shortly after the Northridge earthquake.

Webb said that most of the additional expense has come because the seismic reinforcing work is proving to be much more complicated than had earlier been thought.

He said it was too soon to say what the press box and other continuing repair work would cost. The Coliseum reopened Sept. 3 with full regular spectator capacity and temporary press seating.

The Federal Emergency Management Administraton has paid for 90% of repair costs so far. The state has paid $2 million and is committed to paying the rest of its 10% share, Webb said.

As the Coliseum Commission met Wednesday, mostly behind closed doors, sources on the commission said that it is nearing a decision to put negotiations for a long-term playing contract with Raider owner Al Davis on hold and go ahead and build between 40 and 50 luxury boxes on the Coliseum rim as soon as the Raider home season ends.

This represents a conclusion that Davis is unlikely to be prepared to negotiate a deal before the deadline for starting on the boxes in January, if they are to be completed in time for the 1995 football season.

Two commissioners, who asked that they not be named, expressed confidence that lenders will be willing to finance the project on the assumption that the boxes could be sold at least for USC football and other events--such as soccer and concerts--in the stadium.

Use of the boxes for Raider games would await later negotiations with the team, they said.

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