Venue News: Qatar May Scrap AC Plans for World Cup; MLB Giants Help Rebuild Former Home

Despite lengthy discussions on using state-of-the-art air conditioning to cool stadiums at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the architect in charge of designing Sports City stadium in Doha reversed course and claimed that a more old-fashioned solution would be cheaper and better. The concept of air-conditioned stadiums to beat the 122-degree desert heat in June was a defining theme of Qatar’s winning World Cup bid last year. Claiming that the system is too expensive and potentially unreliable, Populous is trying to persuade Qatari organizers to scrap plans to have air conditioning at the venue. According to Populous, the planned 47,000-seat Sports City stadium can be kept cool by shading seats and using traditional methods for ventilation, such as wind towers that suck up hot air to create fan-like air movement inside the stadium…

… After leaving New York 54 years ago, the San Francisco Giants are helping the New York City Parks Department rebuild the last remaining bit of the storied Polo Grounds with a $50,000 donation. Work is now under way on the $950,000 rebuilding of a stairway that runs from Edgecombe Avenue near 158th Street down to parkland on the western edge of Harlem River Drive, near the old ballpark site. The stairs were built in 1913 and led from a ticket booth on Edgecombe down to the stadium; the upper part of the stairs offered such a good view of the Polo Grounds that fans often crowded it on game days. The biggest chunk of money for the project is a $400,000 allotment of taxpayer funding from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s capital budget. The football Giants, who also played at the Polo Grounds, are kicking in $200,000, the Yankees and the Mets are each contributing $100,000, and the Jets and Major League Baseball are each donating $50,000. The Polo Grounds was torn down in 1964; the project is expected to be finished next September…

…The University of Washington broke ground on its $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium, an 18-month project that will kick the Huskies out of the 91-year-old building until September 2013. According to documents, the school already has $17.9 million of an expected $50 million from private donors; the school says it has nearly $44 million total in signed pledges. The school has said that there is no set total needed to break ground on the project, only internal goals for the fundraising efforts. The largest donation the school has received so far is $6 million and the university has six total donations of $1 million or more thus far. The other $200 million needed for the project will be paid through sales of premium seating and luxury boxes in the new stadium…

…San Jose is giving the Oakland Athletics up to two years to buy five acres of land downtown for a new stadium. The City Council voted 10-1 earlier this week to approve extending the land-purchase option to the team. Under the deal, the A’s would pay $50,000 to lock in a $6.98 million price tag for the 5-acre plot for the next two years. The team could pay an additional $25,000 to extend the purchase option for a third year. The A’s hope to build a new ballpark in San Jose, which is about 40 miles south of their current home, but they need Major League Baseball’s approval since the San Francisco Giants currently hold territorial rights to the San Jose area.