After taking steps last month to launch negotiations, Calgary officials are still working on their pitch to the Calgary Flames for a new arena.
Calgary officials are laying the groundwork for arena discussions with the Flames, with an eye on constructing a venue in Victoria Park that could cost upwards of C$600 million and replace the Scotiabank Saddledome. In early March, the city council voted to approve funding strategies for a new Flames arena plus three other major capital projects. It was indicated shortly after that decision that it would take time for negotiations to get underway, and an update this week shows that city officials are still working on the plan.
Few details on what the offer could look like have been made public, though the city is reportedly likely to own the arena as part of any potential agreement. More from the Calgary Herald:
Coun. Jeff Davison, chair of council’s event centre committee, told reporters Wednesday that formal negotiations have yet to begin but he’s confident that the committee will soon be able to bring forward the “right type of proposal.”
“We want to put our best foot forward. We’re being extra cautious and spending extra time to make sure that any proposal that we move forward with is our best position to be in,” Davison said.
“We know we have to try something different. What we do know at this point is that we have a willing partner who’s potentially out there and willing to invest a significant amount of capital with us in a facility that the City of Calgary will own — that’s different than what we’ve ever had before.”
Davison didn’t clarify Wednesday what he meant by a “facility that the City of Calgary will own” — but a source with the city has confirmed that any deal reached will likely see the city retaining ownership of the building.
City ownership is currently in place for the Scotiabank Saddledome. The city’s push to engage in arena negotiations with the Flames comes after previous talks hit a stalemate in the fall of 2017 because the two sides could not resolve their considerable differences over the economics of the proposal. The Saddledome, which opened in 1983, is currently the second-oldest facility among full-time NHL arenas.
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