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Deal reached for new Calgary arena

Last Updated Jul 23, 2019 at 1:05 pm MST

CALGARY  – The City of Calgary, the Stampede, and the Flames have reached a conditional agreement to create a new events centre, pending public consultation and a final vote at City Council.

The estimated cost of the event centre will be $550-million, which will be shared 50/50 between the City of Calgary and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. The cost to the City will also not impact the 2019 business tax relief program. And there will be no tax increases to help cover costs.

While the City of Calgary will own 100 per cent of the events centre, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation will be responsible for 100 per cent of the operating, maintenance, and repair costs for the duration of the 35-year agreement.

“City Council and I had a set of principles that had to be part of any deal, including that any public money must result in public benefit. I’m very pleased that this deal achieves that. It’s a good deal for Calgary. This deal makes sense on its own merits and we believe it will help accelerate the redevelopment of East Victoria Park,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a release.

The City also walks away with a chunk of the naming rights.

The parties in the three-way deal say the new facility–which will serve as the full-time home of the Flames, Hitmen, and Roughnecks–will also attract the world’s best performers and will be used as a gathering sport for public events.

Nenshi says this announcement is about creating the Calgary of the future.

“It’s about creating a place where generations of Calgarians will build memories, will achieve their dreams and above all build community,” said Nenshi.

“It is very special and I’m very pleased we could all be a part of it.”

In a release, the City also says the project will revitalize the River District and help form part of the city’s cultural nexus, in addition to the BMO centre, Arts Commons, Central Library, Studio Bell and the National Music Centre.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation Vice Chair Ken King was pleased to see a tentative deal be reached, but added the work isn’t over yet.

“I think we just ran the longest race ever to get to the starting line, that is where I actually think we are,” said King.

“Next week leading up to the 29th, it’s going to be a critical date. This week will be very important to everyone in Calgary I think the info graphic and data we put out is quite complete.”

The final council vote on the project is slated for Monday, July 29.

The City is asking for public feedback on the project from now until the vote on Monday.

You can contact your councillor online or by phone or send your thoughts to publicsubmissions@calgary.ca.

Should the deal go through and be finalized, construction should start in 2021 and will take an estimated three years to complete.