The ongoing issues between the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and the city over Aces Ballpark financing and back property taxes have surfaced again, with team management set to address them in February.
The main issue: at it stands, the Aces are able to pay interest on the $55 million debt on Aces Ballpark, but are not paying down the principal, while at the same time negotiating to pay overdue property taxes. From the Reno Gazette-Journal:
SK Holdings, the Reno Aces parent company, paid $2.3 million in interest last year, but was unable to pay down the principal on the $55 million loan. The ballpark also borrowed from a line of credit extended by co-owner Herb Simon, a retail billionaire with other business interests in Reno, to “meet its general obligations.”
Eric Edelstein, president of the Aces Baseball Club, said the Aces are operating on a plan similar to other teams, but have an additional burden of footing the cost of the construction loan.
“When construction loan interest is factored in, the team does utilize the line of credit to assist from time to time,” he said. “Lines of credit also give the team access to funds for short-term needs at low points in our seasonal business.”
The line of credit is a red herring given the other larger financial issues: the inability to pay down principal and a disagreement between the city and the team over $2.7 million in back taxes, fines and interest. SK Holdings, the team’s owner, still hasn’t paid the back taxes but are negotiating with Washoe County on a payment plan. That’s not good enough for some members of the Reno City Council, who want to see the team’s temporary certificate of occupancy taken away because of the unpaid taxes.
Now, that’s the negative part of that’s going on; the good news is that attendance under Edelstein was up 8 percent in 2014 and that the team is negotiating with a promoter to bring in five high-profile concerts — events that will add significantly to the bottom line. Aces Ballpark was built when the market was at its absolute worse, and digging out of that hole will be a slow, gradual process.