SBD/October 19, 2011/Facilities

Northlands President Says Company Needs More Info On Proposed Downtown Oilers Arena

Oilers hoped to be in new arena by '14, but now say that won't happen
Northlands President & CEO Richard Andersen said that the company “needs more information about a proposed downtown arena deal to determine how well Rexall Place would do as a competitor,” according to Gordon Kent of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Although Andersen has “vowed since last year to keep operating Rexall for concerts and other events if the Oilers move out,” yesterday he said that Northlands has “always looked for a ‘collaborative’ way to be part of the arrangement.” Andersen: "There's a lot of information that still hasn't been sorted out. We're really unclear how this works, how the (ticket) surcharge works. Candidly, we don't think the city is clear either." City Manager Simon Farbrother told City Council members last week that Oilers Owner Daryl Katz has “dropped his insistence that Northlands accept a non-compete clause before a new building can be constructed.” Farbrother also indicated that tickets for events at Rexall “face the same surcharge imposed to help pay” the C$450M cost of the downtown facility. He said that this would “keep the playing field level between the two sites.” Andersen said that he “only heard about these details, which came out of bargaining last week between Katz and the city at NHL headquarters in New York.” Kent notes the Oilers “originally hoped to be in a new rink by the time the lease expires in 2014, but now says that won't happen.” Andersen said that the Katz Group “hasn't responded to a Northlands request to discuss extending their arrangement” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/19). Andersen said that he is “ready to go head-to-head with a new downtown arena if he has to.” Andersen: “We will manage Rexall Place -- obviously it will have a new name -- and if there’s a new arena, you’d have to surmise these two would be in competition with each other.” He added, “We didn’t get to being who we are by being afraid” (EDMONTON SUN, 10/19).
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