Latest dirt on the proposed arena(s)

By , August 27, 2009 1:25 pm

Good luck parking in this mofo.

Good luck parking in this mofo.

* – 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.

Edit, for 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.

13 Responses to “Latest dirt on the proposed arena(s)”

  1. Steve-O says:

    It also mentions that 30-50% will be funded somehow by taxpayers. You forgot to mention that part.

  2. Racki says:

    I was actually asked by Daryl Katz to omit that part. Seriously though, I did notice that, however I think if I understood correctly, it was taxes the facilities generate would go back into the costs (although there could in fact be other tax payer money funding this thing as well). Oh hell, I’ll just update the article for your damn sake, you cry baby. :lol:

  3. kej3210 says:

    Haha love the diagram. Weak point, hope no one figures out…..

    Seriously though… this is great news

  4. Horpensky says:

    haha so Katz is building rockets under edmonton to lift off into outer space and shuttle opponents to come play? I like!

    All those ideas mentioned sound really cool, but again, the problem is who is going to find it? They did a recent poll somewhere that said 3/4 of the people wouldn’t want to pay taxes to fund it.

  5. Steve-O says:

    And now you put my name in the post…its supposed to be a secret!

  6. Racki says:

    Steve-O: And now you put my name in the post…its supposed to be a secret!

    Oops, fixed, Steve. STEVE O….. OOOOH… Steve-O, sorry.

    Horpensky: haha so Katz is building rockets under edmonton to lift off into outer space and shuttle opponents to come play? I like!All those ideas mentioned sound really cool, but again, the problem is who is going to find it? They did a recent poll somewhere that said 3/4 of the people wouldn’t want to pay taxes to fund it.

    Yah I saw that survey. I still want to know why they skipped over me, because I’m all for giving up a small slice for a kick-ass arena. :P But seriously though, if they can have this thing fund itself partly, as the Sun suggested, then that would help. Katz is a smart man for adding in student housing though, as that might grease the wheel a bit. But hey, we don’t necessarily have to support the idea of partially funding this thing to actually fund it. Also the survey was limited to 440 people, so while these surveys are said to be fairly accurate, maybe it isn’t. There was a survey done earlier (when the economy was booming) in which the results were closer to 50-50. So take that all with a grain of salt. If it all happens at the right time, public support could be there.

  7. pharsyde says:

    A good way to get public support is to appeal to a large population base, which seems to be the case here. Seems like Katz has gone for the scattershot approach…basically covering every demographic in his description of what the site will feature. If all of those elements are included, well that’s fantastic. To me it just seems like buzzwords thrown out to generate interest in the population, Oilers fans or not. Personally I have no problem having a portion of my taxes (and by my, I mean my parents’ since I live in Winnipeg :P) going towards funding a new super-arena. But a lot of other people that sadly don’t give a hoot about the copper and blue probably wouldn’t want to.

    But like you mentioned Racki, Daryl is a smart, smart man. Not just with the student housing idea, which I agree is a phenomenal idea, but by adding other things into his proposal. Don’t like the Oilers? That’s ok! You can still shop, eat, play and live here! All these other elements disguises the fact that the tax payers’ money is for the arena, because let’s be honest, that’s the whole foundation of this project.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for what he’s proposing, but it all seems a little to informercial-esque…”But wait, there’s more! Call in the next ten minutes(read: put your taxes towards this project) and we’ll also give you access to shopping, housing, even a casino!”

    So when the project is finally approved (because I assume it will be) and designs get underway, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of those other spinoff projects mysteriously disappear. But at least we’ll get our new arena!

    Grats on the new blog btw Racki et. al. Much better than the Oilers forums *thumbs up*

  8. Samus says:

    So we gotta do a trench run to go to a game?? Looks like I gotta dust off my Y-wing.

    Also, because they are tearing down an existing casino I assume they will want to re-build as soon as possible to make up for lost profits.

    Transformers roll out.

  9. Samus says:

    “What the hell is an aluminum falcon?!”

  10. Racki says:

    LOL Samus… that’s seriously my fave episode of Robot Chicken ever.

    And Pharsyde, I completely agree with you on your scattershot/buzzword thoughts. Seems that this is what Katz is going for here.

    Edit: oh, and almost forgot Samus, dig the Dr. Rockso avatar :lol:

  11. Trogdor says:

    Well the Journal is corroborating what the Sun had to say, so I feel it’s legitimate now.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Billion+dollar+makeover+core/1938495/story.html

    A similar venue exists in London, the O2 arena, and it’s a pretty impressive place. Shopping, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. I’d say it may draw more interest in our city on the concert scene, but it’s actually been a pretty good year for that here already.

    Beyond music, travelling exhibits may possibly take place there as well like at the Telus World of Space Science Center Mystery Theater or whatever it has been dubbed these days. I’m all for it on a number of fronts and it will only improve the downtown core that has been waning for years. There are skeptics that the area is dodgy, but have any of these people ever taken a walk around after a game at Rexall? Drinks at the Forum Inn anyone?

  12. Racki says:

    Yah no kidding, about 118AVE. I don’t really find that area where the Baccarat that bad either (so long as you don’t face North.. :P). There are some sketchy places in the nearby neighborhood, but definitely no worse than the Rexall area.

  13. chucker says:

    I love the Death Star pick. This gave me a good laugh.

    Wouldn’t this be awesome though?! Imagine how much of a vibe the downtown area would finally have. It would really bring this city to the next level of coolness and cultural atraction.

    Dare I say it might even change to be good enough for a Pronger? Well, likely not, but it would sure cure some image issues that seem to be out there.

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