We started off with a trip to the top of the EPCOR Tower. From there, you get an excellent view of the 9.5 acre site. When finished, Rogers Place will be about 60% larger than Rexall Place is today. It’ll seat 18,641 for hockey games, and up to 20,734 in a centre stage concert setup.
The former site of the Staples is now empty, and there was limited activity there yesterday.
The Baccarat Casino remains open, and will remain open for as long as they want. The City of Edmonton owns the land and is now their landlord, but the arena development will not encroach on the area where the casino is in any way. It seems strange to me that it could remain open next to the arena, but apparently there’s a strong possibility that’ll happen.
The LRT station is more or less finished, with just signaling to go. There will be some impact to the station once the 5,300 square foot connection to Rogers Place is constructed.
After the media had assembled, the brief press conference was held. On hand to answer questions were: Rick Daviss, Manager of Corporate Properties at the City of Edmonton; Bob Black, Executive VP of the Edmonton Arena Corporation at the Katz Group; Mike Staines, Construction Manager at PCL; Patrick LaForge, President of the Edmonton Oilers; and Dan Valliant, SVP and Project Executive for Rogers Place with ICON Venue Group.
PCL’s Mike Staines gave an update on the construction taking place. “We have around 30 of 400 columns in place, and two or three elevator shafts today.” There are about 150 craftsmen and craftswomen on site working. The steel and concrete structure will be erected starting this fall with two cranes that are three times the size of the ones there today. That work will take about a year.
Next we hopped on a bus to go across the street to see the construction up close.
The crew had setup a PCL flag to denote where Centre Ice will be. About 80,000 m3 of material will be excavated, with up to 300 truck loads removed each day.
Here you can see how deep they have excavated the site, and also the wall that has been setup to separate the arena project from the casino.
About 10,000 pieces of structural steel weighing 9,000 tonnes and 25,000 m3 of concrete will be used in the construction of Rogers Place.
Across the street, there is limited construction activity thus far. Eventually the Winter Garden will cross 104 Avenue, connecting the north and south sites. I expect that’ll be the focus of a future construction update.
Bob Black addressed questions about the arena district right away: “There’ll be much more to come in the coming months as the project evolves. I know that many of you will have questions on the district, and we will be providing details on that very soon. But today, the focus is on Rogers Place.”
Construction has been hugely impactful on the residents of Square 104, but the City of Edmonton’s Rick Daviss said that communication has been good and the City and Katz Group have been quick to take care of any issues that have come up. The City is meeting regularly with residents and business owners in the area.
Rogers Place is slated to open in the fall of 2016. It will bee the first LEED Silver-certified NHL arena in Canada.