The topic of an indoor practice facility has been coming up over the last few years quite a bit. The Arizona Cardinals announced that construction is underway for a $4.2 million, 78,000sf facility. Given that the Cardinals have historically been viewed as cheap as Mike Brown AND Tempe, AZ really doesn't have the bad weather that one can get during the NFL season in the Midwest, I thought it was time for a refresher as to where things stand for the Bengals.
The Bengals are the northernmost team without an indoor practice. However the team has been using the option to practice at the University of Cincinnati "bubble" which is erected Nov-Feb and provides 72,000sf. The facility rents for $5,000 and there is no discount provided to the Bengals per Joe Reedy (see blog entry 1/4/12). There are also transportation and other costs for the team to make the short drive up to Clifton for each session. The team has been doing this since 2011 on a case-by-case basis.
The architectural firm, MSA Sport, put together a concept in July 2012 for a single, full-length field facility that would run parallel to Pete Rose Way just west of the stadium where the three grass fields currently are. You can find sketches online as well as a Sanu scrimmaging 11 on 11 vs himself (or 21 more of "himselves"), which I think is probably how he hurt his foot last year. This permanent facility would certainly cost more than the UC bubble and is likely on par or just above the Cardinals' project value. The Brent Spence bridge and regional rail projects will certainly impact the planning decisions for this facility since both come very close to the proposed building location.
Brown put the subject on hold as it was coming up at the time of the CBA negotiations but certainly there should be no such distractions now. Marvin Lewis has repeatedly expressed his desire for such a facility. That said, it's hard to argue that such a facility would be a worthwhile investment unless it could get used more often. Brown essentially said the same thing to Reedy back in March: "In Cincinnati, the way our schedule works is you need an indoor facility perhaps at the end of the year. For most of the year, you don't. Fortunately for us when we get to the point when we need it is when it tends to be after their season. So it meshes. It was a nice thing for them (UC) to help us out this year. I'd like to continue that relationship."