Plans are moving forward on a new arena and event centre in Sudbury, Ont. with site preparation beginning in early Q3.
The Greater Sudbury arena and event centre facility is part of the larger Kingsway Entertainment District (KED) located on the Kingsway, a major route in the city. In addition to the arena, the greenfield development includes a casino, hotel, restaurants and a festival square. It is expected the project will become a landmark development for the city.
“The Kingsway Entertainment District is an area that’s being developed by a developer,” said David Shelsted, director of engineering services with the City of Sudbury.
“The city has come into an agreement that one of the lots will be used for the city to construct an event centre, a replacement of our existing arena. We’re in partnership with a hotel and casino at that same location and there is going to be a festival square, a public area between the three buildings.”
The KED is a partnership between three parties, led by the city, Gateway Casinos which has plans for a $60 million casino and Genesis Hospitality which is proposing the hotel.
The new event centre will have 5,800 seats as a sporting venue and capacity for 6,500 for concerts. One of the benefits of the new event space is that vehicles will be able to drive directly onto the floor area for unloading of equipment for concerts and other special events.
“The city has been in discussion for some time on the replacement of the existing arena because the construction date on that is 1951,” Shelsted explained. “It started with city council looking for large projects with a new arena being considered. Council had a business case presented to it in 2017 that they approved.”
In addition to the number of seats required, the city also identified the new facility needs to meet OHL standards.
“We gave that information to the design-build firms and they produce their designs as part of that procurement phase,” said Shelsted. “How it’s going to look or even the orientation on the site is not known at this time.”
The approximately $10 million contract for site grading, which includes the blasting and crushing of rock, has been awarded to Bot Construction. The rock blasting work is expected to begin this summer.
“There is a lot of exposed bedrock and we basically need to grade that for the roadway construction, the building and parking lot,” Shelsted said. “We’re going to be blasting a lot of the rock and then we’re going to take the rock crushing equipment and produce the amount of granular ‘A’ and granular ‘B’ Type II that we need for the parking lots for the road and for the site. The rest will be stockpiled onsite for the future contracts that we’ll tender and the future contractors will have access to those stockpiles.”
The two firms shortlisted for the venue operator are ASM Global and OVG Facilities LLC. The RFP is expected to be issued mid-January and awarded in early Q2. Start of event centre construction is anticipated for Q4 2022.
The city has entered into a cost sharing agreement with its partners for the entertainment district, focusing particularly on the common areas/works and blasting. Each partner is responsible for the development of their own site, including buildings and parking lots. The costs are to be allocated to each party based on the property area of each.
“One of the reasons why we’ve combined on the site grading plan is not just the economies of scale that we are all achieving through better unit rates, but also the issues of blasting while somebody is trying to pour concrete,” said Shelsted. “If we can co-ordinate all that construction, that will minimize the problems between the sites as well.”
Road work, which includes all site servicing required for the properties such as watermain, sanitary sewer, sidewalks, cycling infrastructure and storm sewers and intersection improvements will begin in Q2 2023.
“We’re going to release a contract through the city for the road construction and intersection improvements,” Shelsted said. “There are two sets of intersections that will require widening as part of this project. There is an internal multi-lane roadway, about 1.25 kilometres worth, with all of the required underground infrastructure.”
The event centre is expected to open in 2025.
“We’re looking at getting into a project completion agreement with the hotel and the casino to try and co-ordinate our opening date,” Shelsted said. “None of the three parties want to be adjacent to a construction site for any length of time.”
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