Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Calgary Unveils Plan for Downtown Arena and Football Stadium
The Calgary Flames organization wants to build an ambitious $890-million hockey arena and events centre, as well as a football stadium with a roof on property west of downtown, the club officially announced on Tuesday.
Ending years of speculation, Flames CEO Ken King introduced his plans for a new mega-sports complex, which he hopes will one day replace both the 32-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome and 55-year-old McMahon Stadium.
The $890-million budget would be paid from four sources — a $240-million community revitalization levy, a $250-million ticket tax, $200 million from the city to fund the field house, and a $200-million contribution from the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, the Flames’ ownership group.
“I’m so happy to share this vision. It’s going to be a little different than people think,” said King on his way into a Tuesday morning event introducing the plans to season ticket holders.
The development, dubbed ‘CalgaryNEXT,’ is proposed for land west of downtown, in the community of Sunalta, near an existing Greyhound bus station, auto dealership and a recently built LRT station.
King said it was “dumb luck” that Sunalta LRT was built near the proposed West Village site but “it works perfectly.”
At the session for ticket holders on Tuesday morning, King described the project as a “live, work, play project” that is on par with something you would see in New York.
The football stadium would be housed inside a sports field house, and the project would include a regulation sized FIFA soccer pitch, and a track. In total, the facility will be almost 1.4 million square feet.
King said the multi-sport field house stadium will be designed for everyone — by day a child could play soccer in the facility or use the 400-m track, and at night, the structure will be transformed into a football stadium.
“It’s for all of the citizens in our city,” he said.
The field house stadium will have a covered roof and retractable seats that will move on and off the track to convert to a stadium, with a seating capacity of 30,000 people.
The arena portion of the project is being billed as an “arena event centre” that will contain 19,000 to 20,000 seats and host sporting events, concerts and conferences.
The proposal also includes hotels, condominiums, commercial office towers and bars.
King has been working on plans for a new arena concept since at least 2007. In mid-March, the concept was relayed to city council in a closed-door session.
The entire development is proposed for several blocks in the West Village that has long presented an environmental headache to the city and developers.
Much of the area is contaminated from a former creosote plant. The project’s price-tag does not include the costs of remediating environmental contamination on the site.
Previous estimates have put the cleanup costs at between $50 million and $300 million, and a city-owned agency is in the process of hiring a consultant to review previous reports and study the scope of environmental contamination in the area.
Nenshi and council unanimously oppose direct taxpayer subsidies for professional sports buildings, and King tried to head off talk of a massive funding request in a radio station interview earlier this year.
Premier Rachel Notley said publicly this week she would keep an “open mind” about funding for the professional sports facilities.
Edmonton’s $480-million Rogers Place, the new home for the Oilers, is being constructed without direct provincial investment.