Oriole Park refinanced


Much like a homeowner taking advantage of low interest rates, the state refinanced Oriole Park at Camden Yards yesterday for a savings of $15 million, Maryland officials said.

Bruce H. Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said he hopes to put the savings toward a new professional football stadium should Baltimore be awarded a National Football League franchise.

When the state sold $137 million of bonds in 1989 to build the stadium, it offered investors an interest rate of 7.5 percent. Under the complex refinancing arrangement, a Connecticut firm has guaranteed the state a 2 percent reduction in the interest costs on the unpaid bonds in 1998 and 1999. As part of the deal, the firm, American International Group, will pay the state $15 million in 1996.

The refinancing was approved yesterday by the state Board of Public Works.

The board also approved the sale of $283 million of state bonds at 4.44 percent -- the lowest interest rate in more than 20 years. A group of banks and bond houses led by Merrill Lynch & Co. purchased the bonds through a sealed bid at an interest rate of 4.44 percent.

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