SBJ/November 24 - 30, 2003/Facilities

Toronto’s redone Ricoh Coliseum shifts from horses to hockey

The arena, at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, has stood for 80 years.

What was once primarily a venue for the city's high-profile horse show and other agriculturally themed events at Exhibition Place is now a bona fide sports arena housing a professional hockey team, the AHL Toronto Roadrunners. Managed by SMG in a five-year joint venture with local real estate firm Olympia & York, the 9,000-seat facility also can be marketed year-round with concerts and family shows. In addition, live entertainment can be booked for the 18-day Canadian National Exhibition, one of the best-attended fairs in North America.

Ricoh Coliseum has been in existence for 80 years. "It needed a major overhaul," said Diane Young, CEO and general manager for the board of governors for Exhibition Place. "It would have taken $5 million [US$3.7 million] just to do some minor repairs. It was to the city's advantage to contribute funds toward a major renovation. The facility was going nowhere with regard to programming. Now it's going somewhere. Part of the deal with the tenant was that the city has the right to program the building for 115 days a year."

The renovation included building 38 luxury suites that are suspended from Ricoh's roof. The Roadrunners committed to a 49-year lease with Exhibition Place.

Ricoh Coliseum

City: Toronto

Tenants: AHL Toronto Roadrunners

Owner/operator: Exhibition Place/O&Y-SMG

Architect: Brisbin, Brook, Beynon

Construction manager: PCL Constructors

No. of seats: 9,000

No. of suites/club seats: 38/1,100

Projected cost: $28.5 million

Funding: $15 million bank loan, $6.7 million from the city, $6.7 million from a private pension fund

Naming rights: Ricoh Co., $7.5 million

Concessionaire: Centerplate

Pouring rights: Coca-Cola

Scoreboard provider: Daktronics

Floor provider: Aimcon

Seat provider: Hussey Seating Co.

First game: Nov. 1 vs. Rochester

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Related Topics:

AHL, Centerplate, Hockey, SMG

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