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VANCOUVER, WA-The city gained serious momentum toward developing an $83-million special events center Downtown this week. Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert L. Harris ruled that petitions seeking a citywide vote on the project were invalid because they weren’t notarized prior to submission this spring, and that notarized copies turned in after the fact were not a sufficient replacement.

The petitioners have yet to decide if they will appeal the judge’s ruling to the state Court of Appeals. The decision may spark interest in naming rights for the events center, which are being marketed for $7.5 million.

Developer Jerry Jenkins, the city’s private development partner and the one selling the rights, needs the money to fulfill his part of the deal with the city, which has said it would not move forward without the money. Assuming the rights are sold, the city would sell tax exempt bonds to Piper Jaffray to finance the project. Piper Jaffray would then resell the bonds.

The project, if built, would include a 6,500-sf sports arena, a 28,000-sf convention center and a 174-room hotel. The buildings would fill four blocks south of Esther Short Park. Site work was expected to begin this fall, but has been delayed until next spring.

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