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Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority blesses $65 million in debt to pay for the stadium

Construction is already underway on the mixed-use downtown stadium

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Members of the Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority voted to approve a resolution authorizing $65 million in bonds to pay for the construction of the mixed-use downtown stadium, backed by Knoxville and Knox County. 

Construction is already underway on the stadium and the surrounding areas. Boyd Sports CEO Doug Kirchhofer said crews are clearing and grading the stadium site. They're almost ready to pour the foundation, he said. 

At the same time, construction crews are re-working the utilities in the area to ready them for the stadium. 

Kirchhofer said RR Land, LLC, owned by Randy Boyd, is funding the construction right now. Bond Attorney Mark Mamantov said Boyd has already accrued around $13 million in costs to build the stadium, for which the Sports Authority will reimburse RR Land, LLC. 

The reimbursements can't happen until the Sports Authority issues bonds to pay for the construction. 

Downtown stadium project: Answering your questions about projected cost, timeline, financing, impacts

Members of the Sports Authority heard from JP Morgan Chase, Tuesday, about the bond issue.

Standard and Poor's rating agency gave the Sports Authority a AA+ rating. With that rating, Mamantov expects interest rates to be in the low 4% range. An interlocal agreement between Knoxville and Knox County sets the maximum interest rate at 6%. 

Public funding will make up about $78 million of the $114 million downtown stadium. Aside from the $65 million bond issue, the state has pledged more than $13 million toward the project. Smokies owner Randy Boyd has pledged more than $30 million for the project and has agreed to cover any cost overruns beyond the $114 million. 

The Sports Authority hopes to close on the bonds on June 7. 

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