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Nationwide Arena State Loan Balance Could be Erased

Columbus Blue Jackets

Pending approval, a new agreement would eliminate remaining debt on a state loan for Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets

Back in 2012, Ohio’s Development Services Agency provided a $10 million loan to help the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority purchase the arena as the Blue Jackets dealt with financial issues. At the time, the team was claiming losses of $10 million to $12 million annually, and warned that it could relocate if the situation did not improve.

There is $7 million remaining from that loan, and a new pending agreement calls for the balance to be forgiven or paid off. The arrangement is expected to be considered by the authority on Tuesday, and it stipulates that $2 million of the balance be forgiven if the Blue Jackets continue to meet certain payroll and job standards. The rest of the loan would be paid off using a variety of sources. More from The Columbus Dispatch:

Of the $10 million in the original agreement, $2 million would be forgiven if the Columbus Blue Jackets, the professional hockey team that plays in the arena, continued to meet specific payroll and job goals.

The deal originally called for the hockey team to have 60 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $45 million.

Documents released by [Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority executive director Don] Brown show that the team far surpasses those goals: 319 jobs with an annual payroll of $79.5 million. The payroll is important because it generates $1.7 million in state income-tax revenue per year for governments to use.

The other $5 million of the $7 million remaining on the state loan would be paid off with money generated by naming rights for a Greater Columbus Convention Center garage, combined advertising at the arena and $200,000 cash payments in each of the next five years.

Nationwide Arena has been home to the Blue Jackets since its opening in 2000.

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