Johnson Consulting staff served as development consultant to Charlotte-based ScheerSports, Inc. and three local governments to assess the feasibility of a new multi-purpose facility in downtown Greenville. Our firm provided market analysis, financial feasibility, and bond documentation for the underwriting of the $62-million arena. The facility was funded through a combination of private and public financing, including hotel taxes, property taxes, and project revenues. Our analysis included a review of management’s business plan; all vendor contracts and an analysis to determine whether operating revenues were sufficient to support debt service. In a separate study, we analyzed the hotel market and projected future room tax revenues available to support debt service on the arena. The issuer published our reports in the various official bond offering statements issued for this project.
The City and County provided $20 million in public financing derived from a hotel tax increase, with the balance of funding achieved through the sale of 600 club seats and the lease of 30 executive suites. The initial market and financial feasibility studies served to document viability of the financing scheme, to advise the owner of business plan issues, and to advise the City on overall project urban-improvement influences. The BI-LO Center is unique in that it is among the first arenas to apply major league revenue generation approaches in a minor-league setting. The facility serves as a regional venue for concerts, collegiate sports, and other entertainment events, as well as the home of the East Coast Hockey League’s Greenville Grrrowl and the former arena football2’s Carolina Rhinos.