The search for capital came to the front step of City Hall, but officials declined to finance $16 million in new ballpark spending.
It’s been a rough month for Winston-Salem Dash (High Class A; Carolina League) owner Billy Prim, as he’s dealt with the need to raise capital at a time when the credit markets have tightened.
He’s faced two simultaneous challenges: buy out his partner Andrew "Flip" Filipowski to gain sole ownership of the team (a move that should be finalized soon), continue financing construction of a new downtown ballpark, and find additional capital to expand the ballpark project with more seating, wider concourses and a kids’ area.
The search for capital came to the front step of City Hall, but officials declined to finance $16 million in new ballpark spending. The city is already spending $12 million of the ballpark, and the original deal calls for Prim and the Dash to pay for any cost overruns or expansions. Prim wasn’t asking for more cash; he was asking for financing, and as it turns out the city couldn’t borrow money at a lower cost than Prim could on the open market (someting confirmed by Mayor Allen Joines).
Still, Prim hasn’t closed on that financing. He’s approached several high-profile businesspeople in the community, such as racing legend Richard Childress and ISP Sports founder Ben Sutton, about buying into the team. (Surprisingly, there’s been no public talk of team/ballpark manager Mandalay Business Properties about exercising its reported option to purchase up to 50 percent of the team). And ballpark construction slowed to the point where there’s a really good chance the ballpark won’t be open in April 2009.
RELATED: More details released on Winston-Salem ballpark upgrades; Prim: New Winston-Salem ballpark may not open in April; New for 2009: The Winston-Salem Dash; New Winston-Salem ballpark opening may be delayed
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