It’s a much simpler deal than many anticipated, as Quebec City Mayor RÃ©gis Labeaume and Quebec Premier Jean Charest today announced the city and the province would split the cost of a new NHL-level 18,000-seat arena, with the hard cost of the project capped at $400 million.
The announce came after months of speculation about how a new arena would be funded. And the pair admitted the final funding plan is still a work in progress: there’s still the chance the federal government could come through with some money, a deal could be struck with a brewery or management firm in exchange for pouring rights or management rights, and naming rights are still very much on the table. In fact, Labeaume explicitly rejected the notion of the private sector buying equity in the project.
But the announcement did one thing: provide a jump-start to the project, scheduled to be completed in time for the 2015 NHL season. Charest committed more money to the project than in previous statements — up to $200 million from a previously announced $175 million — and the city will be on the hook for $187 million, with $125 million borrowed and the rest coming from elimination of “red tape” in the system. Given the economic woes faced by both the city and the province, coming up with $62 million in “red tape” may be a huge challenge, but one Labeaume says can happen. The city’s share is set up to be flexible; if an NHL team arrives, their rent would go to the city. And, of course, there’s the chance for federal aid — but so far a solution has been elusive.
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