Katz Announces Downtown Edmonton Arena Going Ahead, To Open For '16-17 Season
Oilers Owner Daryl Katz yesterday announced construction for a new downtown Edmonton arena is "going ahead" for the guaranteed C$480M maximum price, according to a front-page piece by Gordon Kent of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The news "eliminates the final obstacle in the way of what will be known as Rogers Place after more than 18 months of work by planners and engineers to meet the budget." Preparation of the site "will start in March in hopes the 18,641-seat facility will open" for the '16-17 NHL season. Katz said that details of "more construction planned for the arena district -- likely to include a hotel, a casino, housing, restaurants and shopping -- will be released this spring." The guaranteed arena price "represents the total cost to be incurred by PCL Construction and contractors, who will cover any overruns unless they’re the result of changes requested by the city or Katz." Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said that "finishes and other details might have been changed to stay on budget with the arena," which was originally expected to cost C$450 million. However, he noted that "none of the essential elements of the oil-drop design were cut back." The arena cost will be "covered primarily by a ticket tax, property taxes on future downtown development and other city money, and Katz’s 35-year lease payments" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 2/12). In Edmonton, Dave Lazzarino in a front-page piece notes Iveson "echoed Katz remark that the building will serve as a 'catalyst' for the city's downtown core." Iveson did "not seem concerned about the yet-to-be announced provincial funds either." Iveson: "It's a small element of the project and for better or for worse the city is committed to finding those funds. So if not there, there are some other places we can look" (EDMONTON SUN, 2/12).