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Plans Discussed for Rexall Place’s Future

Edmonton Oilers

With the Edmonton Oilers having played their final game at the venue, Rexall Place officials are considering plans for the arena’s future.

For the short run, Rexall Place is going serve primarily as a concert venue. Several performances are lined up for the fall, and more are expected to be announced.

However, Northlands–the non-profit that owns and operates Rexall Place as well as the surrounding Northlands Park and Expo Center–has a longer-term plan in mind. As part of a proposal called Vision 2020, Rexall Place would be converted into a seven-rink venue, while Northlands Park and a portion of the Expo Center would be remolded to host smaller events and performances

Scaling down the facilities seems to be a counter to the Oilers’ new Rogers Place, which may attract most of Edmonton’s larger performances in the future. However, Northlands may have an issue obtaining city support for its proposal, based on an agreement related to the development of Rogers Place. More from the Edmonton Journal:

Northlands’ Vision 2020 proposal will be addressed again at an Aug. 31 public hearing at city hall. The plan, however, runs counter to the city’s master agreement with the Edmonton Arena Corporation, one of Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz’s companies.

According to the agreement, the City of Edmonton “will not financially support or advocate in favour of any initiative to rebuild or substantially renovate Rexall Place unless such rebuilding or renovation is for the purpose of converting Rexall Place into a facility to be used for purposes other than as a sports or entertainment facility.”

Once the new arena opens, Northlands will also no longer receive “any payments, subsidies, financial assistance or concessions … to or for the benefit of Rexall Place” from the city.

Northlands CEO Tim Reid told the Journal that Vision 2020 is conceived to allow for smaller events–around the 5,000 spectator threshold–to be hosted at the site. Whether the smaller scale is deemed to be specific enough to not violate the agreement between the city and the Edmonton Arena Corporation remains to be seen.

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