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City, province to split cost of new Quebec City arena

Quebec NordiquesIt’s a much simpler deal than many anticipated, as Quebec City Mayor Régis 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.

RELATED STORIES: New Quebec City arena a go?; Quebecor stepping up to fund Quebec City arena ; Quebec City ready to move ahead without federal arena aid; Harper: No federal funding of arenas — unless Olympics are involved; Backup plan in works for Quebec City arena funding; Fallout from NHL to Quebec City could affect Remparts; Harper backtracks on federal funding of Quebec City arena; Could new Quebec arena open doors for federal spending on arenas? ; Province will pay up to 45 percent of new Quebec City arena; Quebec City on verge of new arena, return of NHL?

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