City Council approves new downtown arena

Wednesday, 15.05.2013 / 8:45 PM
Andrea Rutt  - edmontonoilers.com

City Council voted today to approve the final piece of funding between the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Arena Corporation for the development and operation of the Downtown Arena. The project will see construction likely begin in early 2014 and will include the arena, winter garden, community rink, LRT connection and a pedestrian corridor.

"This is a great day for Edmonton. It's been a long road for everyone involved, but the result is a landmark agreement that will drive investment in our city, help revitalize the downtown core and put the Oilers right in the heart of our community where they belong," said Oilers Owner Daryl Katz via conference call.

"I want to thank Mayor Mandel, City Administration and Members of Council for the extraordinary time and effort they have given to get this project over the goal line, and the Capital Region Board and the people of Edmonton for their support."

City Administration met with councilors today to present their funding solutions for the $55-million shortfall previously identified by council. As part of last week’s Capital Region Board meeting, Mayor Mandel received regional support to apply for a $25-million grant, based over three years, from the Regional Collaboration Program.

"This is a major project, not just for Edmonton, but for the entire region," said Councilor Dave Loken.

The Katz group stepped up and offered an additional $15-million, to be paid in cash during construction, and the City was asked to provide the remaining $15-million through a Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

In an amendment to the motion brought forth on April 10 that $45-million would be sourced through Municipal Sustainability Initiatives (MSI) funding, Councilor Amarjeet Sohi asked fellow council members to reconsider funding this portion through a CRL.

Councilors voted unanimously to re-allocate the funds, leaving the $3-million per year funding for other infrastructure projects. The City also clarified that property taxes will not be increased as part of this arena deal.

"This is an outstanding day for Edmonton's downtown and our city. This project is without a doubt the most significant investment that we have made in our downtown in the last decade," said Mayor Stephen Mandel. "This building will become a beacon in our downtown and will foster a new sense of energy that will spark further development and investment in the heart of our city."

With the final funding structure in place, the arena project team can now sign the Master Agreement and move forward in preparing the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP), to be presented to council in early 2014. The new downtown arena is slated to open in September 2016.

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