CALGARY, ALTA. – Calgary’s City Council has officially ratified an agreement to build a $550-million sports and entertainment complex in the city’s downtown.
According to the city, the new centre will anchor a public festival street, attract internationally renowned performers and major events, and serve as a new home to the Calgary Flames, Hitmen and Roughnecks.
“This vote was a key step in moving not just this project forward, but in re-establishing Calgary as a destination for people from around the world to visit, live, work and grow,” said Councillor Jeff Davison, chair of the city’s Event Centre Assessment Committee, in a press release. “This agreement is the result of public and private partners working together to find common ground, shared principles and a collective vision for a future that benefits all Calgarians.”
The project will be built through an agreement between Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) and the city which was approved last month. The cost of the event centre will be split between the city and CSEC. With its 50 per cent investment, Calgary will own 100 per cent of the event centre while CSEC will bear 100 per cent of the operating, maintenance and repair costs for the period of the 35-year agreement. The City will also receive a facility fee for the lifetime of the agreement and a portion of the event centre naming rights.
“For years, I’ve been saying any investment of public money must have public benefit. This deal does that. It’s a fair deal. I’m pleased that it will allow us to move forward on the important work of city building, especially in east Victoria Park,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a press release. “Given their success in building and designing the East Village, I’m looking forward to the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation’s design, engagement and community integration on this project.”
The city and CSEC will now work to finalize definitive legal agreements and coordination of ongoing public engagement on key design components and surrounding public realm of the event centre and programming opportunities. This process will be overseen by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC). CMLC is the city-owned agency responsible for the revitalization of the adjacent East Village for the past 12 years and the broader Rivers District.
“It obviously creates a stimulus of construction activity that is much needed,” said Bill Black, president of the Calgary Construction Association, in an interview with the Journal of Commerce. “There is activity and there is construction, but we haven’t had many anchor projects – large ones that run for several years and create a backlog of opportunity.”