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Edmonton approves arena funding plan

New Edmonton Arena{jathumbnail off}

The Edmonton City Council approved a $450-million arena funding plan largely along the lines of what Mayor Stephen Mandel had proposed a day before, with the city’s contribution capped at $125 million and another $125 million coming from a controversial ticket tax.

The funding formula:

  • $100 million from The Katz Group, owners of the Edmonton Oilers (NHL)
  • $125 million from the city
  • $20 million from a community revitalization levy (the Canadian equivalent of tax-increment financing)
  • $125 million from a ticket tax
  • $80 million from miscellanous sources (parking, current Northlands subsidies)

Not a bad balance if you’re Daryl Katz, the owner of the Oilers. Of course, there is some other spending apart from the arena: Katz has pledged another $100 million toward development in the arena area, and the city will devote some $140 million from the community revitalization levy toward downtown improvements. So, in reality, we’re talking about a downtown Edmonton revitalization plan that will cost roughly $690 million.

Of course, this is the rough outline of a plan: specifics must be agreed to after negotiations with the Katz Group. While there was initial resistance to a ticket tax from Katz, last night his employees appeared to back off and say they needed time to evaluate the entire package. And you can expect some lobbying from Northlands, operator of Rexall Place, regarding their lessened subsidy and lack of involvement in arena management.

Still, this is the closest we’ve come to a new Edmonton arena, one that doesn’t have any iffy funding sources. The devil is in the details, of course, but the broad strokes are completed.

RELATED STORIES: Edmonton mayor lays out arena funding plan; Report: New arena needs 30-year commitment from Oilers; Complicating factor in Edmonton arena discussions: Northlands; Seat mortgages pitched for new Edmonton arena; City: New Edmonton arena would revitalize downtown; Oilers: No, we’re not moving to Quebec City; Oilers refine arena plan after public meetings; Katz ups arena offer to $200M; city willing to talk; Edmonton: New downtown arena financially feasible Katz: I will spend $100 million on new downtown arena; Edmonton: Cheaper to renovate than to build new downtown arena; Oilers arena zoning hearing delayed; Katz group submits arena application to Edmonton

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