Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun">

City to pay part of arena, convention center study

Baltimore City will pay a third of the $150,000 cost of a

Maryland Stadium Authority

study to determine whether the city should build a new downtown arena linked to an expanded

Baltimore Convention Center


Members of the Baltimore Convention & Tourism Board voted Monday to approve the $50,000 contribution, which will come from the budget of Visit Baltimore, the city's convention and tourism agency.

The stadium authority agreed last month to study the project's feasibility and asked the city to cover part of the cost. The study will look at whether the proposed $900 million project would be financially viable and determine how much tax revenue would be generated. The project would expand the convention center and include an adjacent, 18,500-seat arena and a larger Sheraton hotel at the

Inner Harbor

at Charles, Pratt, Sharp and Conway streets.

The Greater Baltimore Committee business group, which is spearheading the project, said construction magnate

Willard Hackerman

, president and chief executive of the


Contracting Co., has offered to lead a team that will finance and build the $325 million arena and $175 million hotel.

Hackerman has said his offer is contingent on the convention center expansion, which is expected to cost $400 million.