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Scaled-Back New Calgary Arena Plan in Works

Proposed CalgaryNEXT arena project

With little public or governmental enthusiasm for a sweeping new arena proposal, Calgary Flames ownership is prepping a scaled-back new Calgary arena plan as a Scotiabank Saddledome replacement.

The original planned, dubbed CalgaryNEXT (shown above), called for an $890-million combination arena/covered stadium for the NHL’s Flames and the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. A subsequent study from the city, however, said the proposal would cost $1.8 billion.

That didn’t sit well with anyone involved, and in response the Flames are prepping what the team dubbed a Plan B. That still calls for a new arena (Scotiabank Saddledome opened in 1983 and is showing its age), but this one on the Calgary Stampede grounds, as well as renovations to the Stampeders home, McMahon Stadium.

The willingness to present a slimmed-down plan was good news to elected officials, per the Calgary Sun:

The confirmation of a second plan comes after the sports ownership group met with city council behind closed doors in April and was urged to work with the city on an alternative to CalgaryNEXT.

“I’m happy they’re willing to come to the table on that,” [Calgary Mayor Naheed] Nenshi said on Tuesday.

“It was very, very clear that in the last report to council that the CalgaryNEXT proposal in West Village faces incredibly high, if not insurmountable, hurdles.”

Nenshi added that King’s letter to seasons ticket holders didn’t oppose the city’s assertions of the project cost.

“If it’s 1.8 billion dollars and there’s no refutation of that cost, it’s hard for me to see how that proposal could go forward,” he said.

The original plan called for Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium replacements on the west side of downtown Calgary. The arena would seat 20,000 and designed both for pro hockey and concerts. The fieldhouse would seat 30,000 for Calgary Stampeders game, with a full field both for CFL and FIFA soccer.

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