Rochester, N.Y.- the owners of the Rochester Rhinos have reached a deal with the City of Rochester on their lease for Capelli Sport Stadium.
Wendy and David Dworkin, the team owners, will continue to operate Capelli Sport Stadium through September 1. The deal, which the city stipulates will be made once, requires the Dworkins to field a soccer team in 2019 or the lease will be terminated. Confirmation that they will participate in the United Soccer League must be provided in writing to the city. The deal is a reprieve, for now. It obligates the Rhinos, who are on a one-year hiatus from playing matches, to take the necessary steps by Sept. 1 for the USL to certify that they will field a team in 2019. Fail to do that, and they're booted by Dec. 31 with the agreement not to raise further challenges to eviction. Anything less than 15 home games in the future also will result in eviction, according to the lease addendum. The city has received one or more informal inquiries, including an offer to buy and repurpose the stadium.
The storied franchise, which began play in 1996, is the main tenant and current operator of the stadium. City officials were trying to evict the Rhinos, arguing that shutting down the team violated the lease terms. But that could have left the 12-year-old park, now called Capelli Sport Stadium, empty.
Per the new agreement, David and Wendy Dworkin will pay the city $40,000 in addition to their $50,000 rent — the added fee meant as "a measure of cost sharing during the period of the Rhinos' hiatus," according to the lease addendum. The agreement also requires that the Rhinos pay a surcharge on any alcohol brought in and sold at the stadium. In addition, the city will receive a percentage of alcohol sales to reimburse taxpayers.
“Our primary goal has been and continues to be to protect the taxpayers and their $600,000 investment in the stadium,” Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement, also noting that the Dworkins must pay the city $50,000 if they sell the team prior to the 2019 season. In a statement released by the Dworkins Thursday morning, the couple praised the agreement. David & Wendy Dworkin are pleased to announce that an agreement has been executed, which will avoid protracted litigation.
The agreement will now allow all previously scheduled events at the stadium to move forward, as well. The Lancers and Lady Lancers announced Capelli Sport Stadium as their home field earlier this year and their home schedules earlier this month. The Lancers play in the National Premier Soccer League and the Lady lancers in United Women’s Soccer. Stay tuned for ticket packages at rlancers.com.