Through the Times Union Center’s recent $20 million upgrade, plus previous construction costs, the Albany County Comptroller says the county has accrued tens of millions of dollars of debt.

The Albany County’s Comptroller is making another pitch to sell the Times Union Center with a price tag worth tens of millions of dollars.

Many people say it’s wishful thinking.

“It hasn’t happened anywhere else in the entire country so why would it happen in Albany NY?” 

Selling the Times Union center to a private buyer would bring a good chunk of cash to Albany County but is it possible?

Bob Belber, the general manager of the TU Center, doesn’t think the idea practical.

“There’s no other secondary market arena in the country, without am NBA or NHL professional team, that’s privately owned,” Belber said.

Last year,  the county made $1.3 million in profit from the arena.

It still owes $68 million, a debt that taxpayers don’t want to fall back on them.

“I think if it’s a financial burden, it would probably be a good idea to sell it if there is a private financial institution that’s willing to buy it,” Bob Tashjian, an Albany resident, said.

Some question whether the numbers will be worth it, doubting the possibility of a private buyer. 

“I would need to know more, to know if it’s worth it or not,” Kuyl Irvis, an Albany resident, said.

Belber can only think of one way to make it work: A professional team to fill seats, sell suites and drive up advertising costs.

“Bring in revenues that it would need to sustain the player costs and operation costs for an NBA or NHL team, that’s the only way that somebody could come in and make a go, privately of this facility. And I don’t see that happening,” Belber said.

The fact that the county makes any revenue is a good sign.

Belber says most arenas throughout the country in secondary markets either break even or lose money.