Team owner Michael Andlauer has pledged to contribute up to C$30 million for a proposed Hamilton Bulldogs arena, but city officials have not made any decisions on the plan.
Hamilton, ON officials have been weighing their options for a new arena, as the market is currently served by FirstOntario Centre, an aging facility whose worsening condition has prompted some calls for a replacement. While the idea of exploring a new C$130 million arena in the city’s downtown has been floated, Andlauer is behind a separate concept to construct a new venue at the CF Lime Ridge mall. Along with mall owner Cadillac Fairview, Andlauer has floated the plan as a public-private endeavor, calling for a new 6,000-seat arena and three-story parking garage.
More information on the Lime Ridge mall project’s cost and financing surfaced Wednesday, when Andlauer made a presentation to the city’s general issues committee. During that presentation, Andlauer pledged to contribute up to C$30M toward the project, while assuming maintenance costs on the arena. The project is currently estimated to cost C$126 million, including the arena and the parking garage. More from Global News:
Hamilton’s general issues committee has heard from Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer, who says he would pay up to $30 million toward the construction of a mountain arena for his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team.
Andlauer’s presentation estimates that a 6,000-seat arena at Limeridge Mall, along with a three-storey parking garage, would cost $126 million.
Andlauer is also offering to be responsible for maintenance of the new arena, which he says would result in savings for taxpayers since it would eliminate the cost of ongoing repairs that are needed to maintain an aging FirstOntario Centre.
Councillors have to decide if they are open to considering Andlauer’s proposal, alongside a separate process to investigate options for redeveloping city-owned sport and entertainment venues within the city core.
Andlauer has indicated that an arena at CF Lime Ridge could be completed by March 2022, while expressing concern that planning for a downtown arena could delay the completion of a new facility by several years.
First opening as Copps Coliseum in 1985, the 17,383-seat FirstOntario Centre was built with NHL ambitions in mind. Andlauer has expressed his desire for a modern and smaller arena, one that would be more fitting to OHL operations rather than designed to attract the NHL. The Bulldogs are currently the anchor tenant of FirstOntario Centre.
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