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How Hockey Hikes Housing

How Hockey Hikes Housing

RentCase and Market Watch recently completed a study as to the cost of rental prices near NHL hockey arenas. Cities and team owners continue to grapple about public funding for stadiums and arenas. Public financing proponents often argue that stadiums and arenas are economic engines, attracting business and growth. While this study, and a similar one for Major League Baseball (see my prior post Here) focus on the correlation between rents and stadiums/arenas, the housing arguments follows business and growth.

But do arenas and stadiums really act as a draw for economic growth? The hockey study focuses on NHL only arenas – arenas not shared with NBA teams – and looked at rentals of 50 plus units within a 2-mile radius of the arena as compared to the rest of the city. Leading the League was the Columbus Blue Jackets where units near Nationwide Arena rent at an average of $1,394 per month or 69% higher than the average rent city wide of $803. The arena having the least affect on rents is PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, home of the Carolina Hurricanes. There, the average rent is $1,064 near the arena versus $1,029 city wide, a 3% premium. Interestingly, both Columbus and Raleigh are college towns and state capitols. I don’t know what, if any, connection there is.

Florida is home to 2 hockey teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. The Lightning plays its home games in Tampa and the Panthers play in Sunrise, which is in suburban Broward County, west of Ft. Lauderdale. Average rent near the 2 arenas is nearly identical, $1,822 in Tampa and $1,820 in Sunrise. But in Tampa, average rent city wide is only $1,103 meaning that arena area rent is 65% higher than the average city rent. Sunrise’s average city rent is $1,491 making the arena premium only 22%. Do the arenas make any difference in these cases? Probably not. Tampa’s Amalie Arena is located in downtown and Tampa itself is an urban center. Average rents are skewed by lower income housing throughout the city. The Panthers’ BB&T Center in suburban Sunrise is directly across the street from Sawgrass Mills, one of the largest malls in the country. Sunrise is a middle class community located on the edge of the Everglades and its rental stock is newer, particularly near the arena and Sawgrass Mills. If anything, Sawgrass Mills is the draw, not the arena. It is a major South Florida tourist attraction.

As with the baseball study, location of the arenas and team history and success will affect surrounding development more than the stadium itself. That in turn will affect housing costs and rent. This is not a power play for hockey this time.

David Blattner

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