Cost Estimate For Oilers' New Downtown Arena Shows Project Is C$35M Over Budget So Far
City of Edmonton Manager of Corporate Properties Rick Daviss, who is overseeing construction of the Oilers' new downtown arena, said that the "much anticipated, updated cost estimate comes in at a whopping" C$485M, according to Angelique Rodrigues of the EDMONTON SUN. That is C$35M, or around 8%, over the city mandated C$450M budget. Officials are "already searching for cost savings, and have eliminated" around C$8.5M by "nixing certain items from the design proposal." They have "cut the Oilers Team store and eliminated several food and beverage facilities." They are also considering "changing the exterior finish of the building to stainless steel instead of zinc." City Council member Kerry Diotte said that she is "concerned all this cost-cutting could mean a sub-par overall product -- one that Edmontonians didn’t sign on for." However, Daviss said, "Generally, when you’re at schematic design, there’s still a plus or minus 20% when you’re dealing with cost estimates. So it is still a pretty preliminary number." Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel "made it clear Thursday he’s not overly concerned by this round of cost estimations" (EDMONTON SUN, 7/13). In Edmonton, Gordon Kent notes building the Winter Garden "pedestrian crossing over 104th Avenue is far more expensive than planned," coming in at an estimated C$80M rather than the C$50M budget. An additional C$22M "could be saved by reducing underground parking to 200 stalls from 400 stalls, and changing the exterior finish." However, Daviss admitted that some of these moves "mean less income once the arena is in business." The budget is still C$100M short, "which the city hopes will be funded in some way by the province" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 7/13).