* – UPDATE: Dan Tencer says confirmation of this sale is a bit pre-mature. The Katz Group has agreed to purchase the land, however the transaction is not finalized yet.
The Edmonton Sun has an article in which they update us on the latest goings on with the proposed new arena for the Edmonton Oilers. * – For those of you that missed it, the Katz group recently bought the 3 square block area around the Baccarat Casino. Unless Daryl Katz plans on building a ginormous Rexall Drugs, this will be the site of the new arenas. Arenas? Yes, plural.
The latest plan is for the new facility to house an arena which holds 18,000 – 20,000 seats (to be used for Oilers games, concerts, and other events) as well as a smaller 8,000 – 10,000 seat arena which will serve as the Oilers practice facility and for other sports, smaller concerts and other events.
According to the Sun, the new site will also be for “a hockey academy, student housing, shopping, hotel, casino, residential condos, office towers, (and) parkades.” Currently the land north is for Carma/Landmark Aurora condominium towers, which have not yet been built. No word on whether Katz plans on buying out that land or not, or partner up with the owners.
As far as transportation, the Sun speculates that an LRT station will be added here to connect to the NAIT LRT line (expected to be complete in 2014) or use the upcoming EPCOR Tower of Power LRT Station (have I been living under a rock? I had no idea either of these stations were under way).
So now, down to the cost – “a billion-plus”, according to the Sun. The cost will be made up mostly privately (with Northands said to have interest in operating this facility, as well as AEG Group, a major operator of 40 arenas and stadiums in the world). The Sun also points out the brilliance of the student housing idea, stating that not only would it provide easy direct LRT access to NAIT, Grant MacEwan, and UofA, but it may also receive government financing for this reason.
Steve’s Steve-O’s sake:
Mayor Stephen Mandel’s downtown arena committee report suggested 30% to 50% of the arena cost would have to be directly or indirectly taxpayer supported, i.e. a “community revitalization levy” where taxes generated from the project are plowed back into the arenas.
Pretty exciting stuff.