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New Calgary Flames Arena Deal Approved

Plans for a new C$550 million Calgary Flames arena are moving forward, as the Calgary City Council has ratified an agreement with the team.

Under terms that were made public last week, the City of Calgary and Flames ownership Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (CESC) will partner to finance a new C$550 million arena in Victoria Park, with each side to pay C$275 million toward that cost. The arena will fall under city ownership, while the city will receive proceeds from a ticket tax and a share of naming-rights revenue. In addition, the Flames will assume operations and maintenance costs over the course of a 35-year lease with the city and receive an option to buy two nearby city-owned land parcels.

All indications leading up to Tuesday’s vote were that the proposal had solid support from the city council, and that proved to be the case, with the agreement being ratified in an 11-4 vote. More from the Calgary Herald:

Before shaking hands with [Flames vice-chairman Ken] King, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Calgary’s deal stacks up well against similar deals in other Canadian and mid-size American markets.

“It was important (that) we have a great financial deal and I think we did, but it was also important for us to think about the intangibles that we are investing in,” said Nenshi. “I wanted to make sure we had a great balance of social and financial return, and I think we’ve accomplished that here.”

Moments before the vote, Coun. Jeff Davison, the chief political driver of the project on council, thanked the Flames, the Calgary Stampede and the city’s negotiating team.

“I stand in full belief that this is a fair deal for all Calgarians and that public money is being used for public good,” Davison said. “You’ve heard the vision and the promise of a cultural and entertainment district. The numbers have been discussed and debated at length, but really what this all comes down to is, are we willing to build community?”

The new arena will be located in Victoria Park, and is envisioned as an anchor for new development in the area. Now that the agreement has been ratified, the city and the Flames will work to begin construction in 2021.

For the Flames, the new arena would serve as a replacement to the team’s current home, the aging Scotiabank Saddledome. The Saddledome opened in 1983, and is currently the second-oldest facility among full-time NHL arenas.

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