SBD/July 19, 2011/Facilities

Northlands Intends For Rexall Place To Compete With Proposed Oilers Arena

Northlands said that it “intends to keep hosting concerts” at Edmonton's Rexall Place, “even if that means competing with a new downtown arena,” according to a City Council report cited by Elise Stolte of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Several consultants’ reports in the past have said that Edmonton “is too small to support two large entertainment venues.” Northlands also has told the council that it “doesn’t believe the city can support two large concert venues, but insists it’s not the organization’s job to stop operating, even if that puts the viability of a new downtown arena and entertainment complex at risk.” Northlands President & CEO Richard Andersen said, “We have a contract that goes to 2034.” Negotiations "are ongoing" between Oilers Owner The Katz Group, which wants a new arena for the team by ‘14, and city administration. The Katz Group has said that Northlands “would not be involved in a new arena project," and also that it “will need a ‘non-compete’ clause in the contract to ensure a new arena is financially viable.” City Council member Ed Gibbons, who represents the city on the Northlands’ BOD, said that Northlands gets up to C$5M from the City of Edmonton "annually in grant money, but the organization can continue to operate without that money and the city has no way to stop it.” Northlands has said in the past that it “intends to continue to operate as an events centre," and Edmonton CFO Lorna Rosen said that yesterday’s report “reflects that it hasn’t altered that position.” Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel said that the city “can’t force Northlands to sign a non-competition clause.” But he added, “We would hope and expect Northlands would be a co-operative partner” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 7/19).
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