SBD/Issue 128/Facilities & Venues

Edmonton Committee Favors Downtown Arena, Suggests Funding

Edmonton Committee Favors Downtown
Arena To Replace Rexall Place
A committee appointed by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel released a report yesterday concluding that an "inner-city sports and entertainment facility would be a huge shot in the arm" for downtown Edmonton, according to Frank Landry of the EDMONTON SUN. The 18,000-seat arena, which would host the Oilers, would cost $450M, not including the cost of the six acres on which it would be built. The committee suggested the arena should be paid for through a "mix of public and private participation." The committee also suggests that a "minimum 30% of the construction cost -- roughly $135[M] -- could come from the private sector, including the $100[M] promised by" new team Owner Daryl Katz. The remaining $315M "would have to be borrowed." Details on the specific location of the arena were not released, and the committee did not make suggestions on "what the facility would look like" (EDMONTON SUN, 3/26). In Edmonton, Kerry Diotte writes, "While a lot of people might have thought there'd be more in the way of hard details on a facility meant to replace Rexall Place, this report served mainly to kick off more discussion." Diotte notes the "word is that citizens won't be hit with a tax increase for the building" (EDMONTON SUN, 3/26).

CALGARY: In Calgary, Kim Guttormson reports the Flames said that they will "continue to plan for a new home at their own pace." Flames President Ken King said that the team has not "settled on a financing model," but Calgary Alderman Ric McIver "called an arena a luxury item he doubts taxpayers -- many of whom can't afford to go to [NHL] games -- would be willing to pay for." McIver added that he would "favour a plebiscite if the Flames were to request civic funding." Guttormson notes a new facility for the Flames, "most likely built on the Stampede grounds," would allow the team to "generate more revenue and design a building that would function better for the fans and to accommodate other events." The Flames' lease at the 25-year-old Saddledome runs until 2014 (CALGARY HERALD, 3/26).

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