Haslam said the city is ready to sign a contract with Kinsey Probasco
Hays, which will allow it to operate a food service business inside
the Sunsphere, as well as reopen the observation deck.
Other businesses are also expected to be located in the Sunsphere
and the city will spend $1 million on the restoration of the structure.
The city will also spend $850,000 to restore the roof of the Amphitheater
and take other steps necessary to prepare it for public use again.
Both measures go before City Council Tuesday night.
The funds for the projects will come from monies the city obtained
in the 2005 sale of the Candy Factory and Victorian Houses.
Wednesday's announcement is the result of a process that began
in 2004 when Mayor Haslam proposed, and city council approved, $1
million for the renovation of the Sunsphere.
At the same time the city issued requests for proposals for the
World's Fair Park assets including the Sunsphere, Tennessee Amphitheater,
Candy Factory and the Victorian Houses.
There were no viable proposals for the amphitheater but the city
ultimately accepted a $1.82 million offer in 2005 for the Candy
Factory and the Victorian Houses.
It would have cost taxpayers $10 million over the next 10 years
to renovate and operate those structures.
Last year the city agreed to sell its Poplar Street parking lot,
located on what used to be the south end of the old World's Fair
Site, to Gameday/ Trammel Crow for $600,000.
The proceeds from those sales are paying for the renovations to
both the Sunsphere and Amphitheater as well as paying the costs
associated with relocating the city's Arts and Crafts Center to
its new location on Broadway.
The dance studios and meeting rooms that were previously in the
Candy Factory will be located in the renovated first floor of the
Emporium Building downtown. Work has already begun on that project.
The sales also allow the city to take the $1 million initially
budgeted for the Sunsphere renovations and use them for sidewalk
projects in Fountain City, along Jacksboro Pike and near Austin-East