SBD/Issue 151/Facilities & Venues

Daryl Katz Makes Official Bid For New Oilers Arena In Edmonton

Katz Group Wants To Start Construction On
New Arena In January '12 For Opening In '14

Oilers Owner Daryl Katz "made his bid for a new arena official Monday with a zoning application for a large swath of land on the edge" of downtown Edmonton, according to the CP. In addition to a new arena for the NHL team, the proposal calls for a "casino and a mix of hotels, apartments, retailers, broadcasting and movie studios, exhibition and convention facilities and nightclubs." The application, targeting a "6.5-hectare plot near the present Baccarat Casino," does not address the "contentious issues of cost and funding." Development firm The Katz Group in February revealed that it "wants the city to pay for and own" the arena, while Katz himself would "invest in the surrounding entertainment district, the property taxes from which could be used to pay off the arena" (CP, 4/19). The Katz Group Exec VP/Sports & Entertainment Bob Black yesterday said that he "wants construction to start in January 2012 so the facility can be ready for the Oilers to play in 2014." The proposal also calls for a large pedestrian walkway that "would link people to sports-themed shops and restaurants as well as apartments" and an office tower (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/20). The application is the "first step" for the project, which will require "public meetings and city council approval." The Oilers then would "have to apply for a development permit." Black said, “This is about much more than an arena. This is about an opportunity to create a mixed-use district, which will change the way the world sees Edmonton”(GLOBE & MAIL, 4/20). Black yesterday reiterated that his group "wants to lead development on the project," with AEG on board as a consultant. Black also confirmed that Rexall Place operator Northlands "will play a role in the project, though that role has not yet been determined." While Black did not provide financial estimates for the entire project, he did note that the "private sector development will be in the order" of about C$1B (EDMONTON SUN, 4/20).

MORE INFORMATION NEEDED: In Edmonton, Paula Simons writes under the header, "Approving Katz's Rezoning Application Would Be A Big Mistake." The proposal is a "grand, ambitious vision for downtown revitalization," but it is "extremely short of specifics." Simons: "What the Katz Group has brought forward this week isn't a plan, so much as the bare framework for a plan. ... There are no design proposals, no time-lines, no budget numbers" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/20).

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