MLSE's Leiweke Says BMO Field Could Be Expanded In Time For '15 Pan Am Games
MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that the company "could expand BMO Field in time" for the July '15 Pan Am Games, but "only if MLSE and the government can come to a financial agreement 'very' soon," according to Daniel Dale of the TORONTO STAR. Leiweke "wants to add a partial roof and more seats to a seven-year-old facility that he says has already 'fallen behind the rest of the league.'" He said the renovation agreement "will be a deal that won't have a lot of controversy to it." Leiweke: "What we're trying to figure out is a way to get the renovation done where the majority of the burden, almost all of the burden, falls upon us, the private sector." He said that Toronto taxpayers "would probably make some initial payment," but that MLSE would "later return money to the public purse." Leiweke added, "I think if there is any contribution, it’ll be one where they get paid back over a period of time and get a healthy rate of return." Dale noted the first phase of the project would "improve the concourses and increase the permanent seating capacity from about 22,000 to 30,000." The second phase, which could be completed in '16, would "build a roof over the seating area." The project "may be more imminent than previously understood." Leiweke said that government officials have "asked if the first phase could be completed in time" for the Pan Am Games. He said that the timeline would be possible "only if construction begins this summer" (TORONTO STAR, 1/19).