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City Halts Decision on Potential Calgary Flames Arena Proposal

New Calgary Arena rendering

The Calgary City Council opted on Tuesday to hold off a decision on a potential Calgary Flames arena proposal to the team, allowing more time for review. 

A city committee has drawn up a term sheet with the city’s negotiating position that, if approved by the full council, could allow talks with the Flames to resume in the very near future. Discussions over the city’s possible proposal to the Flames come as officials explore an idea that would see a new arena serve as an anchor of a development initiative in Victoria Park, while providing the Flames with a replacement to the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Th term sheet outlining the city’s negotiating position was considered during a meeting by the city council on Tuesday, but the discussions ended without a decision. The council voted 7-6 to postpone talks on the item until next week. More from the Calgary Herald:

“A decision is likely on the framework and so we’ll be seeking that decision,” [councillor Jeff] Davison said.

“At the end of the day, it’s a big file. Council really needs to have a wholesome conversation about it.”

Last week, the arena committee drafted basic negotiating terms for a deal to replace the Saddledome, though details of the proposal likely won’t be made public until a tentative agreement is reached with the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., which owns the Flames, according to Davison.

The draft “term sheet” outlining the city’s bargaining position — as well as a proposed source of funds to contribute to a new arena — was approved by the committee, but still needs to be voted on by council.

For both the city and the Flames, there is still much to be determined about the scope of an arena project and how it would be funded. The Calgary Municipal Land Corp. has released an estimate that a new arena could cost upwards of C$600 million, a price tag that does not factor in land the city could contribute nor expenses for addressing the future of the Saddledome once its replacement opens.

Efforts to revive arena discussions with the Flames come after previous talks hit a stalemate in the fall of 2017 because the two sides could not resolve considerable differences over the economics of the proposal. As noted, the new arena would replace the Saddledome, which opened in 1983 and is currently the second-oldest facility among full-time NHL arenas.

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