PORTLAND — With the Portland Pirates and Cumberland County Civic Center sparring over the hockey team’s future at the arena, lease negotiations were on the agenda for a meeting of the Civic Center Board of Trustees Wednesday.
The team’s lease expires April 20, the date of their last regularly scheduled home game, although it gives the Pirates the option of playing post-season games on their home ice.
There has been little public information available about the negotiations for a new lease, but one issue that is said to be a sticking point is the impact of the post-season play on the ongoing renovation of the Civic Center.
The massive, second phase of that work was scheduled to begin immediately after the end of the regular season. But with the Pirates now likely to make the Calder Cup playoffs and planning to host games in Portland, the second phase could be delayed until June – and completion of the renovation pushed back until January.
Meanwhile, the Pirates are waiting to market 2013-2014 season tickets until a lease is signed, according to the team’s website. And Pirates Managing Owner Brian Petrovek has said the team should receive some of the revenue from Civic Center concession sales, which the Pirates currently don’t get.
Neal Pratt, chairman of the Civic Center board, said Tuesday that negotiations have continued since a special meeting was held last week, and that there would be further talks before Wednesday’s meeting.
Two “significant issues” have been in discussion over the course of about 20 meetings with the Pirates, he said, although he declined to identify them.
While he didn’t yet know exactly what would be presented to the board, Pratt said both parties have been considering “creative ways” of resolving the outstanding issues.
“I anticipate there will be something to consider (at the meeting),” he said. “My hope is that something gets done.”
Calls to Petrovek were not immediately returned.
A construction crew works earlier this month on the exterior of the Civic Center’s new administration office. The Free Street entrance to the arena, with a new entryway canopy, is at right.