The Edmonton Arena District, controlled by Edmonton Oilers (NHL) owner Daryl Katz, submitted a zoning application to the city, but warned that the final arena plan may not be what was supplied at this time.
The application calls for an arena and entertainment complex surrounded by retail, restaurants, office and residential space. It asks for a variance from the 60-story limit on towers in downtown Edmonton. It would sit between 101st and 104th streets in downtown Edmonton where the Baccarat Casino and several parking lots currently sit.
â€œAfter a great many months of work, weâ€™ve submitted our zoning application to the city. This is an important milestone for the project and it represents a lot of work by our team and a whole host of urban planners, civil and transportation engineers, sports and entertainment experts and other people weâ€™ve enlisted to help make sure we get this right,â€ said Jim Low, head of planning and development for the Edmonton Arena District, in a press release. â€œIt also reflects the extensive dialogue weâ€™ve had in recent months with the City of Edmontonâ€™s planning department. The purpose of this zone is to provide an arena and entertainment zone to accommodate the development of a vibrant mixed-use district that will strengthen the downtown core as a regional destination point that provides for employment, residential, cultural, economic, sports and entertainment opportunities.â€
This is just the first step in the process of determining whether or not there should be a new downtown arena to replace Rexall Place as the home of the Oilers. While the mayor of Edmonton support a downtown arena, other city officials do not; some would like to see a new arena close to the current Rexall Place site and others would rather renovate the old arena. Northlands, the group that currently runs the arena, wants to be a player in the development of a new arena, while Katz’s proposal keeps it in private hands (though there surely will be public subsidies in the future).