CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Thanks to a new marketing arrangement, a redeveloped Victoria Park is easier to envision.
The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is partnering with the Calgary Stampede to attract private investment to around 30 acres of land owned by the Stampede.
“They are our anchor, they are the major player within this area,” said CMLC President Michael Brown. “It was really critical, if we were going to be successful, that we’re not doing this without them, we’re doing this in partnership. So, it works really well — the fact we have this marketing arrangement — but secondary to that, I think what is more important is our partnership.”
The CMLC will be tasked with drawing in developers to revitalize the area, while plans to renovate the BMO Centre and the search for a new event centre continue.
“That development being concentrated on private investment and activities in the commercial, hotel, residential type area. And that helps spur development in the remainder of the community as well. The Stampede is the largest landowner in East Victoria Park currently,” said Stampede President David Sibbald.
As that event centre saga moves forward, Brown said these development plans are not contingent on a replacement for the Saddledome — but it would all likely be completed sooner if that replacement was built.
There are few concrete plans at this time, although a request for proposals has been sent out for a hotel to be located next to the soon-to-be renovated BMO Centre.
Sibbald said if everything goes to plan, shovels will be in the ground for that renovation in the spring and the project would be complete in about five years. Brown added the hotel would be linked to the convention centre, so visitors can easily go back and forth.
Overall, it fits with the long-term vision the CMLC has had to revitalize Victoria Park and the East Village, as Calgarians have already seen new attractions such as the National Music Centre and the Central Library transform the once run-down area of the downtown core.
“This is going to be the proof point for all Calgarians that we’re not just going to talk a really good game, we’re actually going to execute on that game,” said Brown. “You can’t minimize in terms of the importance of attracting private investment to the area. This takes a giant step forward in terms of that.”