Edmonton | 2 comments
The Downtown Arena
Source: Edm. Journal & Emil Tiedemann at ‘iheartedmonton.com’
New downtown arena images revealed, questions over funding remain
New concept images and video of the proposed downtown arena were released few days ago, but questions still remain over how the project will be paid for.
The price tag has reached $532 million as a result of surrounding infrastructure including cost of land, LRT connections, and sidewalks. There’s also a $21 million community rink that is not included in the budget. The city was seeking $100 million in funding from the province, but Wednesday’s council meeting revealed that the city has yet to hold formal discussions with the province about arena funding.
The inspiration for the curvy shape of Edmonton’s proposed downtown arena is an oil drop, says Oilers owner Daryl Katz. Inspired by the shape of an oil drop, an exterior aerial computer rendering of the proposed downtown arena looking northeast.
An architecture buff, Katz has been closely following all the discussion around the arena design, and responded when I asked for more details.
“The feedback on the arena design has been great,” he says. “We aspire to create an entertainment centre for the Capital region and northern Alberta and thought the oil drop might capture the spirit of what we’re trying to do. 360 Architecture came back with something that I think really celebrates Edmonton as a forward-looking and progressive city, the capital of one of the world’s great oil regions, and the home of the Edmonton Oilers.
“The design also ties into the surrounding community in a way that I think everyone agrees is very important.”
In the Columbus arena district, 360 Architecture designed Nationwide Arena with a tower that shoots a beam of light high into the sky on event nights. The lighted roof concept for the Edmonton arena would have something of the same effect. It would certainly provide a stunning visual from the sky and from Edmonton’s office towers…
Exterior aerial view of the proposed downtown arena at night from the south.
Exterior view of the proposed downtown arena from the north.
Full bowl view of the interior of the proposed downtown arena.
New arena deal fair for city
Plans to build a new arena in downtown Edmonton have taken a significant step forward with City Council’s approval of an agreement framework between the City and the Katz Group. The framework outlines the principles both parties will use to finalize the terms of a master agreement.
Council has given City administration the mandate to work with the Katz Group and other stakeholders to make the downtown arena become a reality. The framework agreement addresses the funding, design, building and operation of the arena.
We believe the agreement is a fair deal for Edmonton and for the Katz Group. It responds to the key points we heard from Edmontonians in our consultation last year:
• it minimizes the City’s risk,
• it ensures no current tax dollars will go to the project and,
• it keeps the Oilers in Edmonton for 35 years.
One design option is for the roof of the arena to light up at night, Katz said.
The City’s $125 million contribution to the construction costs of an arena will be generated in part through a Community Revitalization Levy ($45 million) while the remaining $80 million will come from sources such as new parking revenue, tax revenue from the arena, and redirected City subsidies. Edmontonians told us users of the facility should pay for part of the new building so a user-pay Facility Improvement Fee will raise $125 million to put towards design and construction. And the $100 million contribution of the Katz Group is confirmed.
Having this agreement in place now enables both parties to pursue funding from other levels of government to make up the $100 million shortfall in the $450 million maximum price that has been set for the arena.
The framework agreement also states clearly that the City will own the land and building and the Katz Group will be responsible for operations including all operating costs and the costs of all capital upgrades, maintenance and improvements. In return they will receive all operating revenues, including naming rights and parking revenues. That’s a deal that we believe helps mitigate the City’s risks.
The design of the new arena is critical to the revitalization of the downtown area. The agreement spells out that any design must be acceptable to both parties. The City will ensure that there is public input into the design. From our perspective, the arena design must support the Capital City Downtown Plan, integrate into the surrounding community and contribute to downtown revitalization.
The framework also reaffirms that a community benefit agreement will be a key component of the master agreement and includes conditions such as a requirement for access to the building each year to stage large community events such as Capital EX or the Canadian Finals Rodeo. It also references the redevelopment of the entertainment district area around the arena, a critical piece of revitalizing this part of our city.
We believe that this project, if done right, has tremendous potential to contribute to revitalization of our downtown.
Much work remains to be done before the first shovel hits the ground, but both partners are committed to working together. Next steps will be to secure the additional $100 million, finalize a master agreement, clearly define the CRL boundary, and define a process to engage Edmontonians in the design of the arena.
This is another step forward for our community that will complement efforts already underway to enhance the vibrant, dynamic and appealing downtown that Edmontonians want.
To stay informed as this project progresses visit www.edmonton.ca/downtownarena.
New Arena Pics
A picture says a thousand words, as they say, but I’m guessing that in this case most of those words are going to be curse words…
BY EMIL TIEDEMANN
JUST in case you haven’t heard enough about the proposed downtown arena district, here’s more! Last Thursday (Jan. 19) ICON Venue Group, the project managers of the new area, released conceptual illustrations of what the project could look like. Not a guaranteed blueprint, but rather some ideas to play around with.
Bistro bars and sushi joints are amongst the proposals for the new arena, which would allow much more variety than the current Rexall Place.
Personally, I think they look pretty cool. But, of course, there’ll be plenty of folks who’ll beg to differ, some just because they can. But that’s alright, we’re a free country afterall. All I am saying is don’t get all caught up in the politics of this whole issue, or the ‘propaganda’ mumbo jumbo, or whatever other accusations others may brainstorm along the way. Just be a little more open-minded is all I’m asking.
Large windows would allow natural sunlight to filter in.
On their website ICON explained their concept behind the design of the new arena: “Fundamentally, the new Edmonton arena must be much more than a hockey facility. It must be designed to accommodate all manner of sports and cultural events and to quickly transition from one to another. It must provide world-class fan experiences and a vehicle to take entertainment in the Capital Region to another level. It must integrate into the downtown core, function as a catalyst for broader redevelopment and have the flexibility to evolve over the decades to come.”
To be honest, I don’t really give a shit about how much more cash Daryl Katz will be pocketing with this arena district, or anybody’s personal agenda for that matter. I just want a new fucking arena for my hometown (see, curse words!), and one that’ll subsequently allow the downtown–and thus the city as a whole–to prosper. How could it not?!
Unique seating arrangements would allow a new experience to watching a hockey game while having a drink and/or a bite to eat.
Anyways, I’ve already said my piece on this issue, which you can read more about here, in case you’re interested. So, for the time being, I’m just gonna sit back and continue looking forward to what will most likely be our city’s best investment plan yet. Fingers crossed.