SBJ/October 24-30, 2011/Facilities

Populous to design Quebec arena

Quebec City has moved closer to fulfilling its dream of again being home to an NHL team.

Last week, Populous was selected to serve as the lead architect to design a new NHL-ready arena for the city.

The Kansas City sports designer is part of a joint venture with three Canadian firms, two architects and an engineer. Thornton Tomasetti, a New York structural engineer working on Barclays Center in Brooklyn, is the fifth member of the team.

The $400 million project, a public-private partnership, is targeted as a multipurpose facility with 18,000 seats. The premium-seat mix will not be determined until March 31, said Francois Moisan, a spokesman for Quebec City, the arena owner.

In September, Quebecor, a multimedia conglomerate, signed a 25-year lease with the city and bought the rights to operate and market the arena. Quebecor is also responsible for finding a primary sports tenant, specifically an NHL team.
There is no deal in place for an NHL team to relocate to Quebec City.

The site for the new arena is on the ExpoCité fairgrounds, to the west of Colisée Pepsi, where the old Quebec Nordiques played from 1979 until 1995. The Nordiques relocated to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche.

A 5,000-seat arena on the fairgrounds will be torn down to clear space for new construction, Moisan said.

The Quebec City project is similar to Sprint Center in Kansas City, an arena Populous helped plan to accommodate an NHL team or an NBA club. Four years after it opened, the arena does not have a major league tenant.

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume toured Sprint Center, as well as Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh and Prudential Center in Newark, the two newest NHL arenas and both Populous designs, said Rick Martin, principal-in-charge in Quebec City.

Officials will select a general contractor early next year and expect to break ground next summer, with the arena opening in the fall of 2015, Moisan said.

The joint venture of designers and engineers share a contract fee of $18.6 million, a deal that runs until the end of the project in 2015, according to city officials.

Icon Venue Group, a company co-owned by AEG, is owner’s representative for Quebecor.

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