New Concept for Edmonton Arena in The Quarters Downtown

Earlier today, local architect Gene Dub released some conceptual drawings and a video rendering of a new arena for Edmonton’s downtown. The project would cost about $300 million, and while Dub has talked to the Katz Group they haven’t made any commitments. According to Global TV, the arena would be on the third floor of the unique-looking, reverse-cone shaped building with retail underneath.

Dub surprised everyone by unveiling his vision at a public hearing for The Quarters Downtown redevelopment plan. The new arena would be located along 103A Avenue between 96th and 97th Streets. I’ve drawn it on a map which you can see here. Currently there’s a whole lot of parking on the site and not much else. The visioning process for The Quarters Downtown began over two years ago. City Council approved the vision statement on September 26th, 2006:

The Quarters (Downtown East) will be a vibrant, healthy community comprised of five distinct areas, each with its own character, activities, and feel, structured around a unique linear park system running through the neighbourhood that provides a defining element for the community. The neighbourhood is well connected to the downtown core and river valley, yet has a distinct image that identifies it as a unique place in the city. Streets are improved with limited through traffic, making the streets safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists. Large city blocks are broken into smaller, more inviting and walkable pieces. Activity abounds. There is a mix of parks, shops, employment, services, and housing. There is a diversity of ages, incomes, and cultures. Open space is surrounded by businesses and housing, creating a safe and inviting amenity year round. The Quarters is a place where community is important and pride and investment in the neighbourhood is evident.

I don’t think the proposed arena goes against that vision, but it’s not exactly a perfect fit, either. I’ve been critical of a new arena before, primarily because I don’t feel that public funding should finance the bulk of the project. I’d reconsider that if the arena was part of a redevelopment project such as The Quarters, however. It remains unclear whether or not the proposed site would be large enough for more than just the arena.

Here’s the video render:

It’s definitely eye-catching.

Wondering who Gene Dub is? He’s the architect behind Edmonton’s City Hall. His firm has received a number of awards over the years, including at least six for the glass-and-stone pyramids of City Hall. Dub also served one-term as a city councillor.

It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of this proposal – I’ll be keeping an eye on it. You can find more comments on the design here and here.

UPDATE (11/25/2008): The Edmonton Journal wrote about the concept here, with few additional details but comments from Dub and a couple councillors.

  • http://jukeyblog.blogspot.com/ Luke Moritz

    My only question is if the promenade/shopping/walk-way areas are uncovered and exposed to the elements it might make a large portion less useable in Edmonton winters.

    I think the design is very interesting though.

  • http://blog.mastermaq.ca Mack D. Male

    Good question, kinda hard to tell from what we have so far. My guess would be covered.

  • http://alainsaffel.com Alain Saffel

    I heard about that on the radio this morning. Kind of a cool idea. Edmonton could use more great architecture.

    I agree with you that the arena shouldn’t be entirely publicly funded.

    Still being relatively new to Edmonton, I wonder what’s wrong with the old arena? Is it just that it’s lacking some seating and private boxes?

  • http://blog.mastermaq.ca Mack D. Male

    It’s an old building with lots of history. I quite like it. What it lacks are some of the modern amenities found in other rinks throughout the league, and seating/boxes/other opportunities for increased revenue. Oilers games fairly consistently sellout, and I’m sure they would continue to do so even with another 2000 tickets or so.

    If you look at the Related Posts above, you’ll see that this has been going on for quite some time.

  • http://www.communicationstrategies.blogspot.com Buce Winter

    Let’s build it smart. Engage the community, all of us. Researchers at the UofA, communicators, all of them, eh us, big and small business.

    Imagine building and commercializing energy, environmental, and financial systems that don’t exist.

    The Quarters has the potential to turn a community subsidy into a community asset that pays dividends forever.

    Can we be that smart?

  • http://deadfellows.blogspot.com Antony Ta

    How do you suppose they will keep snow from accumulating on the roof since the design is an inverted oval? The solar paneling and the precipice of the oval cut off may need some sort of snow removal strategy in such a design.

    Also, what kind of techniques do they intend to use in order to maximize the heat retained by the glass and stone design? It would be interesting also to know how the promenade connects to the parking lot (which is behind near the two towers? I can’t really tell).

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  • alfonso papaianni

    I think it will great to have an arena in downtown Edmonton . BUT it should be something the world has never seen before . So people don,t only come see hockey at the arena but come to the ARENA .

  • Jack D Strangmann

    Mr Katz is a very smart cookie, get the City to pay for the arena, so he can use it, and make a killing on it. He will finance the surrounding retail and other devellopment; an make a killing on that too. that will make it a double whammy.
    In the meantime the taxpayers on the hook for a cool four hundred million, for what? To see the Oilers play; I mean loose?
    Most people I know can’t even affort to watch the oilers play in the Rexall.

    I have a better idea:
    Let mr Katz build the arena, and make his millionair hockey players share holders.

  • SlaughterMeister

    I really, really, really hope they build this thing so it has proper acoustics for concerts. Rexall is a terrible concert venue, the sound echoes and sounds like crap. Shaw is much better.

  • Grimreaper12

    edmonton shows they are wieners, calgary is a much better city and you dont see them complaining, all edmonton has going for it is a very high murder rate 

    • Ve6bsj

      If that’s how you feel; move to Calgary.