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PORTLAND-At a city council meeting this week Mayor Vera Katz acknowledged that an informal policy decision has been made to no longer consider demolition of Memorial Coliseum a redevelopment option. In that spirit, a $182,500 study has been commission that will examine the costs associated with three options for reusing the 42-year-old sports arena-slash-monument to war veterans.

The most popular option is to convert it for use as a multi-use, multi-level public facility for amateur sports and other recreational activity. Another is to lease part of the facility for private operation and use the rest as a public recreation center. The third option is to simply upgrade the facility for its current use, which is an overflow sports and entertainment facility for the adjacent, six-year-old Rose Garden Arena, home to the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers.

The study–by a consortium of firms led by the Portland-based Dully Co., a real estate development consultancy–will be completed in the spring of 2003. Last year, a study suggested razing the coliseum and replacing it a mixed-use development. The Trailblazers won its only national championship in Memorial Coliseum in the late 1970s before relocating to the Rose Garden in 1996.

Billionaire Paul Allen’s Oregon Arena Corp., which owns the Rose Garden Arena and the Portland Trailblazers, has development rights to all of the city-owned property within the 37-acre Rose Quarter, which includes Memorial Coliseum and Rose Garden Arena. Those rights include the space above the city’s two parking garages on the north side of Memorial Coliseum, as well as for a half-acre parcel west of the garage structures, another half-acre parcel on the south side of the Coliseum, and the Coliseum itself. Allen also owns the former Red Lion Coliseum Hotel property on the nearby riverfront, which has been demolished en route to redevelopment.

David Logsden, a project manager for the city’s Office of Finance and Management, tells GlobeSt.com that Allen’s development rights for Memorial Coliseum would only kick in if the city decides to have a portion of the facility available for private use. In that instance, the city would likely have to negotiate a joint development agreement, says Logsden.

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