The Katz Group scored a major victory tonight as City Council voted in private to approve an “agreement framework” for the proposed downtown arena. The framework is the basis for the two sides to negotiate a formal Master Agreement, which will require final approval by City Council. While not a final binding agreement, tonight’s deal nevertheless allows the project to move forward.
Here is the full motion and amendments as voted on back on April 6 (tonight’s was largely the same – see here):
The vote tonight succeeded 8-5. Who voted in favor of the framework? Who voted against?
For: Mandel, Krushell, Loken, Leibovici, Batty, Henderson, Anderson, Sohi
Against: Sloan, Gibbons, Caterina, Iveson, Diotte
The document outlines $350 million in funding for a $450 million arena. Where does the other $100 million come from?
Answering questions from the media tonight, Mayor Mandel would only say “other orders of government.” There is no confirmation on where the remaining amount will come from, but it is hoped that the Province will support the project.
How much of the total cost will be funded by a CRL?
The motion only states that $20 million be directed at the arena from a CRL. The remaining $105 million (the City’s maximum contribution will be $125 million) could come from direct tax revenues. However, the agreement framework page states that $45 million would come from a CRL. The final mix is likely to change.
What happens to Rexall Place and Northlands?
The motion specifies that City administration will continue “to work with Northlands to ensure the City understands their financial challenges and how these can be addressed.” Answering questions this evening, City Manager Simon Farbrother said that Edmonton cannot sustain two arenas. It would appear that Northlands has lost its seat at the table.
Will the City own the arena? Will it receive the revenue?
Under the agreement, the City would own the building and land. The Katz Group would be responsible for all maintenance, upgrades, operating and capital expense costs. The City also retains the right to access the facility four weeks a year. As for revenue, the motion only states that the City “negotiate options for potential revenue sharing.”
What will the arena look like?
The City stated tonight that the arena will contain 18,500 seats and 350 parking stalls. The design process will still need to happen once the project moves ahead.
What are the next steps?
The City and the Katz Group will now work to complete the Master Agreement. They’ll also be working to secure the remaining $100 million, likely from the Province.
Twitter was buzzing with the news tonight. Here are a few of the tweets that caught my eye:
News conference upcoming at City Hall for major #yegarena announcement.
City announces framework to build arena!
Mandel stresses optimism, forward momentum, believes holes in plan will come together now that framework of deal in place. #yegarena
This arena will built just when the construction labour and materials market explodes. I’m guessing it comes in at $700 million. #yegarena
NOTE: #yegarena dissenters. A friendly reminder; you have until JULY 17th to file your plebiscite application. Just saying.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next! Much more to come, stay tuned.