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Rogers Place
Rogers Place

  Venue Resources  
Address 101st & 97th Street 104th & 105th Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada
Official Website
Weather
Newspaper
Oilers Gear
  Calendar / Tickets  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Edmonton

  The Facility  
Opened 2016
Ownership
(Management)
Unknown
(Edmonton Oilers)
Cost of Construction C$480 Million
Naming Rights Rogers Cable
Stadium Architect 360 Architecture
General
Contractors /
Construction Managers
PCL Construction /
ICON Venue Group
  Other Facts  
Tenants Edmonton Oilers
(NHL) (2016)
Population Base 1,000,000
On Site Parking Unknown
Nearest Airport Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
Retired Numbers #3 Al Hamilton
#7 Paul Coffey
#9 Glenn Anderson
#11 Mark Messier
#17 Jari Kurri
#31 Grant Fuhr
#99 Wayne Gretzky
Rod Phillips

Championships 1st

1984
2nd

1985
3rd

1987
4th

1988
5th

1990

  Seating  
Capacity 18,641
Luxury Suites 56 Suites
Club Seats Unknown
  Attendance History  
Season  Total  Capacity Change
1992-93 606,685 87% -6.3%
1993-94 552,569 79% -8.9%
1994-95 314,972 77% -43%
1995-96 505,735 72% 60.6%
1996-97 658,146 94% 30.1%
1997-98 666,033 95% 1.2%
1998-99 666,281 95% 0.04%
1999-00 647,890 92% -2.8%
2000-01 640,085 91.3% -1.2%

2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
680,307 682,960 724,780* None

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
690,143 690,399 689,949 690,399

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
690,399 690,399 690,399 404,136

2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
689,949

1994-1995 - Attendance for 24 games due to NHL lockout
*November 22, 2003 - Additional attendance for the Heritage Classic held at Commonwealth Stadium
2004-2005 - NHL lockout
2012-2013 - Attendance for 24 games due to NHL lockout.

Sources: Mediaventures

Rogers Place

Revenue drives push for new arena
Ownership group wants more modern, comfortable replacement for Rexall Place, NHL's third-oldest rink

David Staples
The Edmonton Journal
Sunday, October 02, 2005

A new arena for the Edmonton Oilers is now on the to-do list of the team's owners, the 37 partners of the Edmonton Investors Group (EIG).

The EIG is planning for the Oilers' long-term future now that league owners have negotiated a more favourable collective bargaining agreement with the players' association, one that could help NHL hockey thrive here.

Part of the EIG's plan includes a new state-of-the-art arena to replace aging Rexall Place. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders play in older buildings, says EIG board chairman Cal Nichols. "One day we will have the oldest building in the league, and eventually you have to do something about it."

Adds EIG partner Bruce Saville: "I'm not sure anybody wants to hear it, and I don't know what number to pick out of the air, but let's say 10 years from now we're going to have to be in a new arena."

Nichols's favourite NHL arenas include the new Glendale Arena, home of Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes. The $180-million US arena was built by the city of Glendale.

The EIG hasn't looked at where the new arena will be built or focused on how the project will be funded. Northlands, a community group, built Rexall Place in 1974 with a $3.7-million grant from the province, a $10-million low-interest loan from the federal government, and roughly $2 million in federal lottery money.

The city donated $3.7 million to buy land for the arena, then known as Northlands Coliseum.

The economics of the Oilers and the NHL have to justify private individuals and the community investing money in a new building, Nichols says. "The thing can only be dealt with if you're viable and profitable as far as the eye can see, because if it isn't, you can't think new building."

Nichols isn't looking for government to do all the heavy lifting here, EIG lawyer Mike Crozier says. "He doesn't have the attitude that somebody should provide it for nothing."

Before plans advance for a new arena, EIG partners must pay down the remaining $30 million on the bank loan taken out in 1998 to purchase the team. So far, the investors have not made money on their initial $60-million investment. In 2002, they had to put in an additional $14 million to cover costs.

But things are looking good this season, Nichols says, with demand for season tickets the highest since the EIG took over.

"I've never seen such excitement

since 1979 (the Oilers' first year in the NHL)."

The team now leases Rexall Place from Northlands.

There are nine years left on the lease for the arena, which was extensively remodelled in 1994 with 39 luxury boxes and 16 skyboxes installed.

The need to increase comfort in the building and revenues for the team is driving the urge to build, Saville says.

"It just allows that much more revenue to be generated.

"That's the key. If you tour all the other arenas in the league now, they're just that much better in the way of amenities, food services, suites, access to suites, number of suites."

NHL tickets are expensive, and customers who pay more than $250 a ticket, the price of a ticket in an Oilers corporate box, demand the best, Nichols says.

"You've got to have a modern, first-class, up-to-date presentation and facility because if you don't, you just can't command those kinds of prices forever. Everything wears out."

There's no need to add increased seating, Nichols says, but Rexall Place doesn't have enough gold and silver seats, which command more money for the team than upper blues.

Many of the existing high-priced seats are uncomfortable for fans to sit in, especially down in the arena's corners. "I've sat there and it's really uncomfortable and I'm not a big or tall person," says Nichols.

"You just have to have more comfort."
By GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN

REALISTIC DREAMING

In the Oiler saga, the next off-ice chapter is fast coming up on the city's radar.

The team survived the Pocklington era, survived through the 04/05 lockout.

Now its brain trust and owners have to start planning for a long-term future in this city.

On the top of everybody's minds: When the current 10-year lease on Rexall Place (owned by Northlands Park) draws to a close in 2014, the Oilers will need a new barn.

Today and Tuesday, two special Hicks on Six columns on the challenges, possibilities and city-wide benefits of a new Oilers' arena.

Surprisingly and encouragingly, most of the thoughts on the subject - for nothing has been done of yet - are heading in the same direction.

A beautiful, new arena.

Downtown.

- - -

THE NEED FOR A NEW ARENA

Ever since the Northlands movers and shakers built what was then the Coliseum in 1974, Rexall Place has been a worthy, sturdy home to our WHA, then NHL hockey team.

But it's the third-oldest arena in the National Hockey League. Discussions and negotiations are underway for new arenas for the Pittsburgh Penguins (if that team stays in Pittsburgh) and the New York Islanders.

We're next.

It's not that Rexall Place is hopeless. But even with the renovations 12 years ago, it's simply outdated.

The concourses are too small, the legroom too tight. Most important, every inch of room in the place is taken up.

The Oilers have a crying need for more premium seats, more luxury suites, more restaurants, more lounges ...

Northlands argues, without conviction, that Rexall Place could possibly be refitted once again to accommodate a few more decades of professional hockey. A consultant is currently assessing the building's long-term options.

But in their heart of hearts, I think Northlands' management and its board knows the jig is up. They realize the building's use as an NHL arena is fast drawing to a close.

- - -

WHERE THE NEW BUILDING SHOULD GO

This is where there's surprising uniformity of opinion.

First choice: Jasper Avenue East, or the "market lands" - an architecturally pleasing hockey arena could anchor a massive redevelopment of approximately 10 square blocks bounded by Jasper Avenue to the south, 103rd Avenue to the north, 97th Street to the west and 95th Street to the east.

Second choice: Around the CN Tower or the "postal lands" on a much smaller piece of land (bounded by 104th Avenue, 97th Street, 105th Avenue and 101 Street) mostly owned by one company, Qualico Developments.

Why downtown? There's a chorus of agreement among NHL teams and cities (with a viable downtown core).

Given a choice, downtowns or close-to-downtowns are the best sites for new professional sports facilities.

They serve as anchors to overhaul/redevelop rundown, decaying parts of urban centres (insert "east end of downtown" here.)

They utilize existing public transportation and roads during non-office hours (insert "LRT" here).

By being downtown, they meet multiple urban planning and political ends: building up downtown density and vibrancy; not contributing to suburban sprawl; creating "critical mass" to make a downtown a desirable, after-hours place to go.

Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal all built their new arenas downtown. Everybody is pleased with the results.

Ottawa built its arena a half-hour out, in Kanata. Greater Ottawa agrees. It was a huge mistake.

There are other long-shot possibilities around town, i.e. West Edmonton Mall, by the City Centre Airport, industrial land north/northeast of Northlands.

But the downtown location is so glaringly obvious, with such overall benefits, as to render other possibilities most unlikely.

- - -

THE VISION

An arena nestled somewhere behind the historic buildings on Jasper Avenue East (from the now renovated Hardware Grill at 97 Street to the Flat Iron Building at 95 Street).

It would be a beautiful piece of signature architecture, as per several new hockey, baseball and football facilities in the U.S.A.

It could echo and complement the historic buildings to its south - which would be renovated and look beautiful, too.

Alongside, by 97 Street and close to Churchill Square and the Shaw Conference Centre, a big, well-designed parkade architecturally complementing both the new arena and the surrounding buildings. Plus a pedway to the LRT.

Meanwhile, all other buildings in those 10 square blocks would be demolished with the exception of the Jasper Avenue heritage group, possibly some buildings along on 97 Street, and newer projects like the Chinese seniors' complex and condos.

Around the new arena is born a well-planned redevelopment - convention centre add-ons, hotels, offices, condos, an "Old Strathcona North" entertainment zone.

For examples, see the "arena district" around Nationwide Arena, home of the Blue Jackets in Columbus, Ohio. Or Minnesota/St. Paul's Xcel Energy Centre, home of the Minnesota Wild and a downtown revitalization showpiece.

COMING TUESDAY: The amenities needed in a new Oiler home and the political, economic and leadership challenges of building a new barn in the downtown core.

And ... who's gonna pay?

New arena gets approval
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

THE CANADIAN PRESS - EDMONTON -- A committee studying whether to build a new arena in downtown Edmonton has concluded that the project would be both feasible and desirable.

The committee says a new sports and entertainment facility in the Alberta capital would help revitalize its downtown core.

As for who would pay for the $450-million arena, the committee suggests a "mix of public and private participation."

Spokeswoman Charlotte Robb says the committee is confident the arena could be financed without tax increases and without taking money away from other infrastructure projects.

In the past, Mayor Stephen Mandel has expressed support for the arena, although the provincial government has said it is not a priority.

Darryl Katz, the prospective owner of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, has pledged up to $100 million for a new ice rink, although the committee has not spoken to him directly.

Rexall Sports Corp., an affiliate of the Katz Group of Companies, says it is pleased at the committee's conclusions.

"Over the next several weeks we will be assessing our position with regards to the financing and overall development, and what it means to us as the prospective new owners of the Oilers," John Karvellas, president of Rexall Sports, said Tuesday.

"We look forward to working with the City ... and other stakeholders to move this project forward."

Katz is a pharmacy entrepreneur who owns the Rexall drugstore chain.

He is poised to take over ownership of the Oilers after the current investors agreed early this year to sell him their shares for $200 million.

The deal is pending National Hockey League approval and is expected to close in May

NEW CONCEPT FOR DOWNTOWN EDMONTON ARENA IS IFFY
IS GENE DUB OFFERING TO DONATE THIS LAND?
OTHERWISE, HIS IDEA MAKES LITTLE ECONOMIC SENSE, EXCEPT MAYBE FOR HIM.

Edmonton architect Gene Dub has released some interesting conceptual drawings of a new arena for downtown Edmonton. Dub showed up at a public hearing on east Edmonton and outlined his master plan for this arena.

As the Journal's Gord Kent reports, "(Dub) and other landowners in east downtown want a raised oval structure due south of the police headquarters on five acres of mainly parking lots. He estimates the project would cost about $300 million. He has talked to the Katz Group, which hasn't made any commitments, but Dub says it's an alternative to the six other potential downtown sites that have been mentioned."

Dub says the five acres are worth $20 million. Hmmm. . . .

I'll say one thing for Dub, if there is one location that would truly benefit from a new arena it's the land that Dub has chosen. That area is blighted. It's also located next to Edmonton's greatest physical resource, the river valley, and if the new rink could tie the downtown to the river valley, creating a thriving entertainment district in that area, that would be a tremendous boost to the city.

Of course, erecting a rink here would also be a boost to Dub, as he does indeed own land that needs redeveloping in that area. But I can't see this project going anywhere, not unless Mr. Dub is offering to donate these five acres of land, and about 20 more additional acres, to Northlands or the city for this project, which would, in turn, work with the Katz group on a new arena there.

Sports economics prof. Dan Mason of the University of Alberta has said at least 26 acres are going to be needed for any viable downtown arena district in Edmonton.

You see, the Katz Group is going to have to acquire a big enough chunk of land to build a larger development around the rink, with offices, restaurants, theatres, condominiums and other amenities going up, that sort of thing.

That is what we've seen in other cities in recent years. That is what the the arena-building game is all about now -- making enough profit as the developer of the arena district to pay for the arena itself. In Columbus, Ohio, for instance, these secondary developments helped the private developer to foot the bill for the rink with very little public assistance.

Anyway, if Mr. Dub wants to give Edmontonians a gigantic present, perhaps he can donate this land and more land in the vicinity, or at least offer it up at a vastly discounted price, and then the arena and other developments can be built there.

We all await further clarification on this matter.

As for Dub's building, I'll let the fans at the Hockey's Future board do the talking on this one:
* OilFanInCowtown: "Pretty bizarre looking building for a team that normally goes for a traditional look/feel." * Pennertration: "Looks a bit like a Copper toilet bowl." * Homesick: "It looks like a giant WOK!" * Asher: "That looks like something out of The Jetsons." * the word: "That's a very original concept. I like it. I hope that's the design they go with."

If done right, a new arena could revitalize Edmonton's downtown and not strain public finances, says Dan Mason of the University of Alberta. This kind of community friendly development was seen in Columbus, Ohio, yet there's nothing that says Edmonton will get things right, as many North American cities continue to get it wrong.

"It's the Columbuses that are still the exception to the rule."

In Columbus, citizens had voted five times over the years against using public money to build a new arena. After the last loss, a landslide vote against public funding, private interests stepped up. Nationwide Insurance, the biggest company in town, was led by a dynamic fellow, Dimon McFerson, who looked out of his office, saw a massive rundown area, and started plotting about simply building the arena himself.

In the end, Nationwide got together a massive piece of land for the project, 95 acres in total, but only with the help of local authorities. The land acquisition was helped by the fact that Columbus, like a lot of American rust belt cities, has huge tracts of land in the inner city which are dead zones, just parking lots and unused buildings, Mason says. In Edmonton, it's going to be a far greater challenge to come up with as much as 26 acres.

"There are no shanty towns in downtown Edmonton."

What the developer most wanted to avoid in Columbus, Keith Myers has said, was the sort of "death space" that surrounds most arenas, the acres and acres of parking and concrete that separate arenas from the surrounding neighborhood.

"That's what makes Columbus so beautiful," Mason says. "That arena fits about as seamlessly as you can imagine an arena fitting into a surrounding community."

The redevelopment in Columbus has been so successful that condo projects around the arena have sold out quickly and property values in the formerly depressed neighbourhood have risen much faster than other neighbourhoods in the city.

BETTMAN SAYS OILERS NEED DOWNTOWN ARENA
December 18, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman is convinced the Edmonton Oilers need a new downtown arena.

"It is imperative that the Oilers have a new building," he said. "It can become an economic engine. It can attract tourists. It is critical both for the future of the Oilers and the city. "Yes, the team is good shape, but you have to look into the future. This is a city and a team that vitally need a new building."

Bettman made the comments during an Edmonton Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He also addressed the global economy and its effect on the NHL, saying "our numbers are almost incredibly strong."

Bettman said attendance is up two per cent league-wide, revenue will be up, and television ratings on both Hockey Night in Canada and TSN are up. (Edmonton Journal)

Three Quarters (76%) of Edmontonians 'Disagree' That City Should Provide Taxpayer's Money for a New Hockey Arena
August 20, 2009
Contact Jamie Duncan at 403-294-7385.

Edmonton, AB - Weighing in on the debate about a new hockey arena in the Edmonton downtown core, a new Ipsos Reid poll of 440 Edmonton residents has found a strongly-negative response to the idea of providing City funding to help build the arena.

Three quarters (76%) of Edmontonians 'disagree' (46% strongly/31% somewhat) that 'The City should provide taxpayer's money for a new Hockey Arena. With nearly one half strongly disagreeing with this notion, it is unlikely that further debate on the issue would make them more receptive of the idea.

Desiring a new arena despite the cost to city hall and taxpayers, one quarter (24%) of Edmonton residents 'agree' (6% strongly/17% somewhat) that the city should provide funds to help build the arena.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between Aug 14 and 17, 2009, on behalf of Global Edmonton. For this survey, a sample of 440 adults living in Edmonton from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-4.7 percentage points 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Edmonton been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

People in Edmonton Don't Want (To Pay For) A New Arena
August 23, 2009
By Jonathan Willis of Oilers Nation Dot Com

An interesting study (See Above) on support for a new taxpayer-funded arena for the Edmonton Oilers came out yesterday (g/t Battle of Alberta). The headline is that 76% of Edmontonians don't like the idea of the city using tax dollars to help build a new arena.

Ipsos-Reid provides a detailed breakdown for support/non-support for using taxpayer dollars to build the arena:

* 18 - 34: 30% support, 70% against
* 35 - 54: 20% support, 80% against
* 55+: 22% support, 78% against
* Men: 24% support, 77% against
* Women: 24% support, 76% against

It's hard not to see the rationale for opposing spending tax dollars on an arena; particularly since the last four NHL arenas built in Canada (Vancouver, 1995; Ottawa, 1996; Montreal, 1996; Toronto, 1999) were built with private money.

This should mean that there's very little chance of the Oilers playing out of a new building in the near future; on the other hand, big public works projects like this often go through despite contrary public opinion.

The most interesting thing about these numbers is how dramatically they've changed in less than two years. Towards the end of 2007/start of 2008, a public opinion study conducted by the University of Alberta found that only 50% were opposed with 48% supportive of using public dollars to build the arena.

Patrick Laforge was "overjoyed" at the time:

The divided public opinion doesn’t discourage Oilers president Patrick LaForge, given that nobody has even seen a sketch or a model of the proposed arena.

In fact, LaForge says he’s thrilled so many Edmontonians already favour the project. “I’m overjoyed, shocked, I can’t believe it.

“Most humans respond visually … so they would see something and say, ‘I love it, that’s a great idea.’ But not even one sketch has been produced and the location hasn’t even been discussed.”

Once sketches and plans are annnounced, the approval rating will grow “monstrously,” predicts LaForge, who is also chairman of Edmonton’s Chamber of Commerce.

“People will see the real thing and go, ‘Wow, do I ever love it.’ “

With so many already strongly opposed to spending tax dollars on a new arena, I can't see LaForge being right on this.

Rogers Place

September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Daryl Katz, owner of the Edmonton Oilers, has proposed two arenas to replace Rexall Place as part of a much larger development, but the city's mayor says regardless of what takes place, he sees the city as being the arenas' owner.

If it proceeds as planned, the multi-use project would transform the northern quadrant of the city's downtown core, and help kick-start a stalled adjacent condo project that could one day house 3,000 residents.

The dramatic makeover would turn the current Baccarat Casino site and an adjacent parking lot into an entertainment Mecca for sports, concerts and other events, while driving related casino, hotel, condo, retail, student housing and office developments, reports said.

Besides a new 18,000-to 20,000-seat rink that would serve as the Oilers' new home, Katz's plan calls for a linked second 8,000- to 10,000-seat arena that would serve as the team's practice facility.

Both buildings would host a wide range of other events besides hockey, including concerts and shows.

With the campuses of three major post-secondary schools nearby - Grant MacEwan College, NAIT and NorquestCollege - and the U of A's main campus connected to the site by LRT, the reports said development plans have also recently expanded to include student housing.

Such housing could complement Carma Developers' long-proposed, C$500 million, 1,192-unit Aurora condo project just north of the Baccarat site. Both projects would be directly tied into a new light rail station, on a line extending west to MacEwan and north to the NAIT campus.

The team wouldn't be interested in staying at Rexall Place, where it has a lease until 2014, even if the building was expanded and updated as suggested in a 2007 consultant's report, team officials said.

Mayor Stephen Mandel, a longtime booster of the project, called the Baccarat Casino site a "reasonably good location" for a new arena. He said he expects to see a detailed proposal come forward soon.

A new downtown arena would be owned by the city - not the Oilers, Mandel said, vowing again that current tax dollars wouldn't be used to build the facility. The mayor said he would be open to a community revitalization levy in the area surrounding the new building, a concept he's also talked about before. That would see a portion of taxes paid by new neighborhood developments set aside to pay for the arena.

Northlands, which manages Rexall Place, is working with the city and Katz-owned Rexall Sports Group on possible solutions "vis-a-vis a new arena in Edmonton," an idea that should be considered despite the economic slowdown, chairman Andrew Huntley said.

In a report released in March 2008, a committee appointed by Mandel concluded an inner-city sports and entertainment facility would be a huge shot in the arm for the downtown. The report said an arena alone would cost C$450 million.

Katz has said he would be willing to put C$100 million into the facility.

OILERS WANT ALL MONEY FROM REXALL PLACE
September 17, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - If a new arena is built downtown, the Edmonton Oilers say they'll need all the building's revenue and control of the venue in order to be competitive with other NHL franchises. The Northlands, which operates the team's current venue, Rexall Place, says it has been a responsible operator and should continue in that capacity.

The Calgary Flames and almost every other NHL team control all revenues from their home arenas, but the Oilers do not, says team president Patrick LaForge. To level the playing field, the Oilers want to control not only hockey revenues, but also those that come from concerts and other events held in the arena.

"We lost money last year," LaForge says. "We lost quite a bit of money" LaForge says because of Calgary's superior arena deal, the Flames take in $15 million to $20 million more each year than the Oilers.

Oilers owner Daryl Katz has been meeting with international players in the arena building and concert promotion business, such as AEG and Live Nation, in the hopes of forging new partnerships to build and run a proposed downtown arena on the Baccarat casino lands.

AEG, owned by Los Angeles businessmen Philip Anschutz, owns or controls numerous arenas around the world, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Prudential Center in Newark, the Sprint Center in Kansas City, the Target Center in Minneapolis and the O2 World Arena in Berlin.

"We're interested in being the best in the world," LaForge said. "I'm not trying to poke Northlands in the eye here. ... Northlands has done a good job so far. Nobody would have an issue with that. (But) the new world is big operators like AEG, Live Nation and the like. They are creating a new world of preferred outlets that they bring their best Triple-A entertainment to, and we want our place to be one of those stops, and want them probably to be one of our partners."

AEG TO HELP DEVELOP EDMONTON ARENA
December 10, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - AEG has been hired to work with the Katz Group to help develop a new arena and entertainment district in Edmonton. The move was described as hiring a "project manager" by members of the Katz Group, also owns the NHL Oilers.

AEG has developed numerous properties in the U.S., including L.A. Live around the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The firm will work with local leaders and the master architect on an entertainment district designed for the Edmonton market.

NICHOLS: ARENA NEEDED TO SECURE OILERS' FUTURE
December 17, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Cal Nichols, former owner of the Edmonton Oilers, said the team's future in the city is dependant upon whether it gets a new arena. Rexall Place is the second-oldest and smallest NHL arena. Almost every other NHL team has moved into a massive new arena with wider concourses, improved seating and better food and beverage services in the last 15 years. On average, NHL buildings were financed with a 60/40 private-public split.

The longer Edmonton waits to build a new arena, the greater the revenue gap between the Oilers and its NHL competitors will be, and the more expensive an arena project will be, Nichols says.

The Oilers have yet to finalize plans for a new arena on the downtown Baccarat casino lands, either in terms of design or finances.

"We haven't asked for anything yet, and we're figuring out what the ask is," says Oilers president Patrick LaForge.

Both Nichols and Oilers owner Daryl Katz say many people are too complacent, expecting Katz to do it all.

"It's good that Daryl Katz purchased the Oilers, but him buying them and them staying here forever, we have to all take care of that," LaForge says.

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has said arena funding won't come out of general revenues. A city committee that looked at Edmonton's arena situation recommended that there be a 70/30 public-private split on building a C$450 million downtown arena.

The arena committee said the city could pay off the loan for building the arena through various measures, including C$11 million a year from arena revenues and a Community Revitalization Levy, where increases in the property tax base in an arena district would be used to pay off the loan.

NORTHLANDS TO STUDY NEED FOR EDMONTON ARENA
January 28, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Northlands, the agency that oversees Rexall Place arena, has hired CSL International and Spotlight Strategies to study the potential for a new arena. The action was taken outside of the plans already being made by Oilers owner Daryl Katz who has purchased land for a downtown venue.

Edmonton Oilers team president Patrick LaForge said he will wait to see what the Northlands announcement means. "I'm trying to understand what it means. ... I don't have any comment until we have time to digest."

Northlands and Oilers representatives had been on board together pushing for a new downtown arena as recently as 2008, when both groups supported a report to the city that called for a new $450-million building to be built as part of a sports and entertainment district.

But in December 2009, the Katz Group hired AEG to advise it on the arena project. AEG is a massive U.S. sports/entertainment company that both builds and runs arenas.

Northlands, which built Rexall Place with public money in the early 1970s and has run it almost exclusively since, took that as a sign that even if it wants in on the project, the Oilers might have something else in mind.

Northlands community relations director Brian Leadbetter doesn't believe that the Katz Group has pushed Northlands to the side.

"We have been working collaboratively with the Katz Group. My understanding is that we have met with them in the past."

"I don't know what the exact time frame would have been for those last meetings. But we certainly recognize that the Katz Group has advanced a vision for the downtown arena, we support it, and we're essentially doing what we can to bring an additional level of due diligence to the work that is required to determine what Edmonton sport and entertainment event and facility needs are."

Rogers Place

KATZ EXPECTS PUBLIC FUNDING OF ARENA
February 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The Katz Group has clarified its plans for a new arena in downtown Edmonton saying it would be willing to invest C$100 million in a sports and entertainment complex around the venue, but it would expect the city to pay for the arena itself.

The Katz plan calls for the city to borrow money to build the arena, which it would own, then pay off the loan with a "community revitalization levy" using property taxes generated by the rest of the development, said Bob Black, the company's vice-president of sports and entertainment. He expects the federal and provincial governments to help with infrastructure, including a connection to the LRT station planned nearby.

The Katz plan includes shops, restaurants and two office towers linked by a pedestrian bridge to a C$400-million arena across 104th Avenue.

The enclosed "Winter Garden" walkover, featuring stores and standing 25 feet above the road, will tie the district together, Black said.

The arena area will include a community rink doubling as Edmonton Oilers practice ice, two hotels, a new casino and new student residences, he told the city's Building Owners and Managers Association.

Katz Group, which includes Rexall Drug Stores, would be one of the tenants in the office towers, Black said.

Katz hopes to start construction by January 2012 and have the arena ready for play by the beginning of the 2014-15 NHL season.

The Oilers' current lease at Rexall Place, operated by Northlands, expires in 2014. The management and operation of the new arena is still subject to discussion, Black said. "Our door is open to Northlands, but really, this is a key opportunity for Edmonton to do something that is transformative." Northlands chair Andy Huntley said his group is consulting with stakeholders, mainly the city, after the latest offer from the Katz Group.

But with the company talking about an arena entirely government owned and financed, it makes sense to have his non-profit organization involved as a "steward of the public interest," Huntley said.

MAYOR SUGGESTS TICKET TAX COULD HELP FUND ARENA
February 25, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - A $5 ticket tax could help fund a new arena in Edmonton for the Oilers, according to Mayor Stephen Mandel. A levy of about $5 on each of the two million tickets that could be sold for hockey games, concerts and other shows would generate C$10 million a year, he said following his first speech looking at details of the arena proposal.

"I think the citizens of Edmonton would like, would be more comfortable, if those who use it help pay for it," Mandel said.

Under a 2001 bylaw, the city imposes a $2 surcharge on tickets worth $7 to $28 at Rexall Place, while tickets that cost more than $28 face a flat seven-per-cent tax.

There is also a 25-cent levy on all admissions. Money taken in from hockey tickets goes to the Oilers while Northlands receives the surcharge raised from other events.

The city also pays Northlands about C$2.5 million annually toward Rexall Place operating costs. A 2008 report by a city committee that looked at the need for a new downtown sports-and-entertainment complex suggested part of the project's cost could be funded by a C$3 million boost in the ticket surcharge.

While he applauded the vision of Oilers owner Daryl Katz, he insisted financial, design and control issues must be resolved before his plans can be approved.

An arena needs to be part of overall downtown plans that aim to revitalize the east-side Quarters area and Jasper Avenue as well, he said.

The arena report also contemplated Katz making a "C$100-million cash contribution to the building," Mandel said.

Katz Group vice-president Bob Black said in a recent speech the money will be put toward kick-starting development around the arena to generate property taxes that will be used to pay for the facility.

But Mandel described this as a "material change" that needs explanation and makes the situation more complex.

"If they're not going to put the C$100 million in, which we assumed they would, then they have to come up with another solution to make that work," he later said.

Rogers Place

MAYOR BELIEVES OILERS ARENA MAY BE LESS EXPENSIVE
April 15, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel says the proposed cost of a new arena for the Oilers have been blown out of proportion and that the venue may cost less than the estimates that have been reported. Mandel did not say how much he thought the actual cost would be.

A leadership committee assembled by Mandel calculated in 2008 that the price to build an 18,000-seat arena would be C$450 million, but construction costs have dropped since then as the economy soured.

Oilers owner Daryl Katz has proposed the city finance and own a C$400 million arena, using property taxes generated by C$1 billion worth of office towers, hotels and other related development to pay off the debt.

Mandel said there must be a detailed proposal so everyone knows what's being planned and can make an informed decision about the scheme.

"We have gone a long way in our downtown, we have a long way to go. Don't discount this as something good or bad until we know what it is."

KATZ BEGINS APPLICATION PROCESS FOR EDMONTON ARENA
April 22, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The owner of the Edmonton Oilers has formally begun the process of rezoning land where he hopes to build a new arena for the team.

The rezoning affects 16 acres and requires changes in the city's long-term planning documents to accommodate the changes.

The requested zoning would allow many types of uses, said Gary Klassen, the city's planning and development general manager.

"The contemplation is it will be very much mixed use ... the specific design is not before us at this time." Mayor Stephen Mandel, who declared last week that he's inspired by the ambition that imagines Edmonton as the best place for such a plan, said the facts of the proposal will show what's best.

Katz Group vice-president Bob Black called the application "an important milestone" in the process following 18 months of work.

The group still envisions an arena on the north side of 104th Avenue, with two hotels and a casino to the east and an office tower, a parkade and student residences to the west.

A large pedestrian "Winter Garden" walkway over 104th Avenue would link people to sports-themed shops and restaurants, as well as apartments and another office tower.

The application doesn't address how to pay for the project.

The Katz Group has suggested the city borrow money to fund the arena and pay off the loan with property taxes from the rest of the development, which Black estimated will cost about $1 billion. He wants construction to start in January 2012 so the arena can be ready for the Oilers in 2014.

EDMONTON OFFICIALS WANT FINANCING DETAILS
May 13, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Some city leaders say they want details about how a proposed new arena would be financed before a June 28 vote on rezoning land for the venue. The Katz Group formally applied April 19 for new zoning and other bylaw changes to accommodate its proposed sports and entertainment area, moves that can't go ahead without city council approval following a hearing.

However, city council members say they need more information, including who will pay for the project, before they can make such an important decision.

"I think it's very premature ... Is their business model reliant on public financing? That's the first question," Councilmember Linda Sloan said.

"If we consider and approve the zoning in advance of having the financial information, it can be perceived that we have given the first level of approval for the arena district."

The Katz Group has suggested the city borrow money to build a C$400 million arena, repaying the loan with property taxes from the planned office towers, casino, apartments, hotels, shops and restaurants.

Owner Daryl Katz has pledged to invest about C$100 million into the surrounding C$1 billion development to kick-start construction.

However, Sloan speculated some form of government money might be sought for that section of the complex as well.

She also wants to know the impact of the project on Rexall Place and Northlands before ruling on the land-use issues. Rexall Place is the team's current home. Northlands is the authority which oversees the arena and surrounding property.

Katz Group vice-president Bob Black said they are working on a funding model with the city administration, and hope to have a deal in place in time for the proposed public hearing.

Rogers Place

KATZ EXPECTS ARENA FINANCING HELP FROM PROVINCE
June 3, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Katz Group Vice President Bob Black told a television interviewer that his firm expects the provincial government to help fund a new arena for the Oilers in Edmonton.

"Edmonton is a very important cultural hub for northern Alberta. It's where northern Alberta finds its entertainment in a very significant way," Black said.

Some provincial leaders say they're willing to hear more about the proposed downtown arena and entertainment district. Many politicians saying they are willing to negotiate what role the province will play in what could be built in downtown Edmonton.

Black says the group hopes that all levels of government will support the project.

"We are still working on a funding model and it's premature to talk about the details of it. But we expect that there would be participation from all three orders of government in the ultimate funding," said Black.

The Katz Group says it's still hoping to have a funding model in place by June 28th, when it goes before city council with its re-zoning application. However, the group did say that deadline may not be met.

The Katz Group has suggested the city borrow money to build a C$400 million arena, repaying the loan with property taxes from the planned office towers, casino, apartments, hotels, shops and restaurants.

Owner Daryl Katz has pledged to invest about C$100 million into the surrounding C$1 billion development to kick-start construction.

NHL COMMISSIONER SUPPORTS NEW ARENA IN EDMONTON
July 1, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman agree that a new arena is needed for the Oilers, according to a report of a meeting between the two by the Edmonton Sun.

"We just had a nice discussion about the NHL," said Mandel.

"I'd just like to leave it at that. I think it's just part of the process. We are looking, as you know, to build a new arena in Edmonton. This was out of respect for the commissioner, to kind of give him an update," the newspaper reported.

The mayor said he was also due to meet with Oilers owner Daryl Katz, though it sounded more like a friendly visit than an arena discussion was on tap, the newspaper said.

"Council has invited the Katz Group to come to council and they're going to come in the middle of July," said Mandel.

KATZ PLEDGES $100 MILLION TO EDMONTON ARENA
July 15, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Oilers owner Daryl Katz has put in writing his pledge to put C$100 million into the construction of a new arena in downtown Edmonton, according to the Edmonton Sun.

In February, when the Katz Group unveiled its plans for a downtown arena and entertainment district, they indicated that money would be spent on surrounding developments.

In a June 29 letter, Katz Group vice-president Bob Black wrote that the group had "constructive discussions" with Mayor Stephen Mandel in Los Angeles during the NHL draft weekend, including talks of possible funding models, the newspaper reported.

"We are concerned that there may be some misconceptions as to these discussions and, without attempting to address funding in its entirety, we want to take this opportunity to clarify a few matters," Black wrote.

"Firstly, we can tell you that the most recent funding model we have proposed contemplates that Daryl Katz will invest $100 million directly into the construction of a city-owned arena," the newspaper said.

The letter also stated that the group's "ask" from the city will be "significantly less than the $400 million that has been so widely reported."

"Moreover, it is contemplated that the city's capital contribution for the arena would be substantially financed under a community revitalization levy with no consequential increase in municipal property tax rates," the newspaper quoted.

The Katz Group had suggested the city borrow money to build the arena and recoup the costs through tax revenues generated from the surrounding developments, which include hotels, office space, restaurants and other buildings.

Mandel added that from the very beginning, he has said there is no reason this project would need a tax increase.

Mandel told the Sun this was "a very good news story" and said he's looking forward to the Katz Group's presentation to city council on July 21.

The letter also addressed the Katz Group's meeting with Hamilton city council in which the Katz Group is finalizing an agreement to manage the Copps Coliseum hockey arena. The letter indicates this deal will help the group expand their "long-term strategy to build a national sports and entertainment business," it was reported.

Rogers Place

A GREEN ARENA
September 28, 2010
Copyright 2010 OilersNation.com

We've been rolling around an idea in our brain for a few years now. It started as a "gee, this would be a good idea" concept and later involved doing some research with a local engineer to see if it had any legs. The latest stage has been whispering about it in conversation with some folk around town including our very own Jason Gregor.

Gregor texted us earlier today and said "I mentioned the arena idea you had on my show. Maybe you could take a break from your fan boy silence and grace us with your dream for a Green Arena. If you can find the time to stop kissing your Eberle picture that is."

Very well Sir. Here goes.

We say that if a new arena has to be built, we don't just build a snazzy new Rexall Place with wider concourses and additional seating. If public funds are going to be used as part of larger financing, it should create a legacy that benefits Oilers faithful and non hockey fans alike for decades to come.

Edmonton should build a Green Arena.

A GREEN WHAT?

Kick starting an alternative energy industry in Alberta is a concept that has been debated by private industry and Government for nearly at least a decade. But it is one of those chicken and egg scenarios - how do you invest money to build a wind farm or solar array if there is no guaranteed demand? Without alternative energy supply being built - what option do people have who are looking to 'go green?'

Building a world class "Green Arena" and using it as a way to finally kick start an alternative energy industry in Alberta is an opportunity that is knocking at our door.

GREENWASHING AND BS

Many "eco-friendly projects" are little more than slapping a solar panel on a rainforest cutting facility and painting the doors an eco-friendly shade of green. There is little environmental benefit to doing it, but companies and politicians alike have a desire to jump on board the Green bandwagon even if it doesn't really lessen the impact on ol' Mother Earth.

This is called greenwashing and it eliminates the environmental benefits of proposed projects right out of the gate.

The biggest problem with alternative energy projects in Alberta - particularly the increasingly popular Geothermal loop - is that they greatly increase electrical consumption.

In Alberta, most of our electricity is generated using dirty ol' coal. As a result if you go geothermal and reduce your gas consumption you also increase your electricity demand and wipe out any benefit to the environment.

The solution to this problem is to start a bunch of large scale remote wind farms and create clean electricity in the process. The problem with this is that you need a big whack of demand before companies and politicians would be willing to fork out the dough needed to get a big one built. As a result we have barely any of the wind juice in Alberta.

What is needed is leadership and a big customer to step forward and demand supply. And with a facility the size of an proposed Downtown Arena you have a real opportunity to build a one of a kind facility in the world and start a whole new industry in the process.

DO GO ON PROFESSOR WANYE

Buildings of this size are utility pigs. It takes a massive amount of electricity and natural gas to power and heat an arena complex 24/7/365 especially in Edmonton where it is so cold that entire neighbourhoods often freeze solid and aren't heard from again until Spring.

But the bigger the utility demand from a facility, the wider your options are to find opportunities to use alternative energy. In addition, if you have a project the size of the proposed arena that is 100% committed to using alternative energies for its 50 year life span, it can single handedly justify spending investing in projects and technologies that would have guaranteed demand once they were brought online.

WASTE HEAT AND WIND

There are a couple of alternative energy technologies that could be used to power and heat a facility the size of the arena project. Without boring you to death with a bunch of energy mumbo jumbo, let's just say this: managing the waste heat from the building and using wind power are two of the cheapest and most effective ideas.

When you are constantly making ice - i.e making cold - you are also generating a lot of heat. Have you ever seen that massive fan thing outside Rexall Place in the winter blowing steam to high heaven?

That's the heat stack and it is venting the waste heat from the ice plant at the arena much like the back of your fridge at home vents the heat that comes from cooling your tasty Bud Light within.

A Green Arena could make use of capturing all of this waste heat and could redistribute it in the Downtown core. Back of the napkin math suggests that an arena the size of Rexall Place be used to heat roughly 10,000 square feet of low income housing heating nearby.

24/7/365 the Oilers could be providing heat that is currently being sent to the sky, to people who could make good use of it. If the arena were to be built using the a massive geothermal loop, you could power the thing using wind power - and avoid the catch 22 that "dirty" coal fired electricity that rules out the environmental benefits for using this technology for most projects.

Go Wind with the arena and the first wind farm in Northern Alberta would then have its first big customer. A customer so big that it would single handedly make the multi-million dollar investment relatively risk free. Once you get the first turbines in the ground, smaller projects could then pile on and a sizeable farm could then be built bit by bit and Alberta takes the lead.

GIVE THE POLITICIANS A REASON TO INVEST

With the Civic Election in full swing, now is not the time for any politician seeking re-election to stick their neck out and stand in favour of the new arena. Asking for money from politicians for the simple reason of 'we want an arena like Minnesota' isn't really going to fly in these tough times.

So why not turn the conversation on its ear and suggest that a project as big as the arena could become a landmark in Green Development all the world over and kick start a whole new industry in Alberta? We have looked and can't find any mention of an arena or stadium anywhere that provides significant energy savings over a traditional facility.

Build a Green Arena? Edmonton would be the first. World wide. That is something that a politician can wrap his or her arms around all day long.

TALK ABOUT YOUR PR

Every time an arena or stadium would be proposed around the world for the next 25 years someone would invariably stand up and say "if we are going to build a new building, we should make it a green one like that one way up in Northern Canada."

The result would be delegation after delegation landing in the City of Champions and touring the arena district trying to figure out how to build one back home. The mentions of the arena and of Edmonton world wide would go through the roof - and the politicans who got on board could bask in the international glow for years to come.

And big dirty Alberta would finally have something positive to stand behind besides washing off oil covered ducks using recycled water.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Saying that the current arena needs to be replaced for environmental reasons is stretching the truth to say the least. The energy and resources to build a new arena alone are staggering and the best thing you could do for the environment would be to find a way to continue to use Rexall Place until 2193.

But with Alberta being labelled as the Great Satan, with its Oilsands, Oil pumps and the team called the Oilers - a project of this magnitude would help jump start an industry that could quickly become sizeable and would shift the focus away from dirty energy and reposition Alberta at the front of an emerging alternative energy industry.

The concept of a team called "The Oilers" having the prototype Green Arena emulated world wide is a hilarious bit of irony. But as Alberta continues to seek ways to lessen its impact on the environment and find new industries other than Oil and Gas it could do just that.

November 18, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

The Edmonton Oilers have decided to use telemarketing to find out how residents feel about building a new arena in the city, according to CTV. The calls ask residents to vote yes or no on whether they support a downtown arena. Team president and CEO Patrick LaForge told CTV the organization is also using social media to gauge reaction on the topic. The president says they will not be releasing specific details on results, but they do hope for at least a 20 per cent response to the polling. The survey comes as city council has learned what it will take to keep Rexall Place up and running until its anticipated 50-year lifetime in 2023. The building's manager says the arena is in good condition right now and estimates the cost of routine repairs at approximately $2.5 million a year. But Mayor Stephen Mandel says that is just for the cost of maintenance and doesn't include the cost of upgrades or improvements.

EDMONTON LOOKING AT OPTIONS FOR OILERS' ARENA
December 9, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - City officials say they won't rush a decision on funding a new arena for the Edmonton Oilers, but that hasn't stopped a private group from offering a new financing plan, the Edmonton Sun and INews 880 radio reported.

The radio station said National Hockey League player agent Ritch Winter has approached Edmonton City Council on behalf of some interested businessmen, proposing a funding scheme for a downtown arena.

It would sell select seats, as if they were condos, where buyers would pay what Mayor Stephen Mandel calls "a very hefty price." One suggestion is C$100,000 each, INews 880 reported.

"It's a system where you look at selling some of the rights to the seats, but that's something that I think is very difficult at this stage of the game to get into major discussion about," Mandel told the radio station. "We've got a lot more things to get moved forward on."

Winter declined comment to the radio station. He says it's too early to speak publicly. Mandel says the city's administration hasn't even had a chance to look at the plan.

Meanwhile, city manager Simon Farbrother told the Edmonton Sun the more important question, "is if we're able to come to an agreement on what makes sense. If council sees the vision and value of that, we'll be able to move forward constructively. If that ends up being 2014 or mid-2015, the bigger issue is, what's the right decision?"

Farbrother spoke to reporters after the city released a report on the proposed arena containing the Oiler owners' answers to questions posed in July by city councillors.

The document carried hints by the Katz Group that a new downtown arena - along with a big cut of the revenue from non-hockey events - is critical for keeping the franchise in Edmonton, the newspaper said.

"The Oilers have two fundamental competitive disadvantages," the Katz Group tells council. "We play in the league's smallest media market and are the only team/ownership group in the NHL that does not receive non-hockey revenues from the building in which it plays."

The NHL tries to keep teams in one place, but the Katz Group says "a relocation application may be considered if the franchise does not have a binding lease," while "franchises whose markets are not viable due to the absence of a state-of-the-art arena and a sustainable financial model for the franchise my be considered candidates for relocation."

The Sun said the Katz Group, headed by billionaire Daryl Katz, wants the city to build a C$450 million arena in the downtown core. The company says it's willing to contribute C$100 million, but hasn't said if that's cash.

The Council will hear from Northlands, which operates Rexall Place, on Dec. 10.

The Katz Group wants the arena built on land it owns at 101 Street and 104 Avenue. If a deal is struck, the Katz Group says it expects to sign a 25-year lease.

DECISION ON EDMONTON ARENA EXPECTED IN SPRING
December 23, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmontonians should know by next April whether the city will build a downtown arena for the Oilers, Mayor Stephen Mandel told the Edmonton Journal. Although Mandel doesn't know which way the vote will go, he said councillors will discuss funding and zoning for the project in mid-January.

"It can't go on forever ... My guess is sometime after that, and not too long, we will have a proposal as to what the (Oilers owners) Katz Group would like to see happen," he said, adding there has been progress in talks with administration.

"I would say sometime by the end of April we should have a decision."

The Journal said Northlands, which runs non-hockey events at Rexall Place, argues it should operate any new city-owned facility in the interest of the community.

While Mandel said the city's job is to ensure Northlands continues to do business effectively, he wants the Oilers treated like other NHL teams.

Generally, clubs pay expenses and receive the "dominant" part of hockey, concert, naming rights and other arena revenue, he said.

"We have some things we're talking about with Katz that I think make our deal different, special, so you can't say it's hard and fast. That's traditionally what the deals are."

A new arena would likely be constructed with C$200 million pledged by the Katz Group to the building and surrounding development, dedicated property taxes from that growth, a ticket tax and other sources, Mandel said.

The Oilers, who want to move into a new facility in the 2014-15 season, have estimated putting an arena on the Baccarat Casino site would cost up to C$500 million, the Journal reported.

REPORT URGES 30-YEAR LEASE FOR NEW OILERS ARENA
January 20, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The Edmonton Journal quotes a new report that says the Oilers should guarantee they'll stay in Edmonton for 30 years if the city helps build the NHL team downtown arena.

That should be one term of an operating agreement that could also include a 30-year lease, provisions for days when it could be used by the community, and minimum targets for success in the entertainment market, the city report says.

"The city wants the security that a franchise of the Oilers stature is in the city," city manager Simon Farbrother told a news conference attended by the Journal.

The team is now bound by the terms of its 10-year lease at Rexall Place, which expires in 2014, but otherwise could leave Edmonton, he said.

The previous location agreement that kept the Oilers from going to Houston in 1998 allowed then-owner Peter Pocklington to sell the team to an outside bidder.

However, this agreement, which expired in 2004, gave local buyers a short window to buy the team before it could be moved.

One of the key goals of any deal is to ensure the team is on a sound economic footing, Farbrother said.

A new arena is expected to be larger than Rexall Place.

The Oilers, who say they're losing money, have indicated they want to receive revenue from concerts, shows and other non-hockey events which now goes to Northlands, the newspaper said.

The potential operating agreement is part of a framework discussed by city and Oilers' owner Katz Group officials on how to finance and operate a new arena, estimated to cost C$450 million.

The Katz Group has agreed to put C$100 million into construction and the city expects it could cover the cost of borrowing C$250 million from property taxes on surrounding new development and a ticket tax, the report says.

It doesn't indicate where the remaining C$100 million would come from, although the city hasn't yet asked the federal or provincial governments for money.

The report suggests governing the arena with the same type of non-profit foundation in charge of Calgary's Saddledome.

ZONING APPROVED FOR EDMONTON ARENA
January 27, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton's city council has approved a rezoning plan for a new arena that would host the Oilers, the Edmonton Journal reported.

The Katz Group's 6.4-hectare project could include office towers, hotels, housing, a casino, bars and restaurants, but the company hasn't designed the arena or decided exactly how the site will be used. The firm also owns the Oilers.

The arena and most other construction is slated for 4.9 hectares. Another parcel - now a parking lot east of the Greyhound bus station - is keeping its current zoning for bars, restaurants, shops and other uses.

The two properties are intended to be linked by a wide "winter garden" pedestrian bridge, the newspaper said.

The area could include a new casino and office buildings up to 60 stories tall.

Jim Low, head of planning and development for the Katz Group, told the Journal they received a good response to a request for proposals the company made late last year for two hotels in the district.

"Some of the hoteliers said Edmonton wasn't on our radar screen before hearing about your project. Now it is."

The city council has also agreed to start negotiations with the Katz Group on how to fund and manage the arena, with information from those talks scheduled to be presented to council March 2.

BETTMAN SUPPORTS NEW ARENA FOR OILERS
February 24, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is encouraging Edmonton and the Oilers to finalize plans for a new arena, the Edmonton Sun reported.

It's something he told the newspaper that is essential to keeping the hockey team in Edmonton.

"I don't think there is any intention of this team to play in this building (Rexall Place) beyond the term of its lease," Bettman said. "There needs to be a new building, and it's that simple. "I would find it difficult to believe that people would let it get to that point (team leaving). I've already engaged in one effort to save the Oilers in Edmonton, I really don't want to go through a second one.

"This team needs a new building and this city needs a new building. I think everyone agrees on that, it's just a question of getting it right."

The Oilers are looking to construct a new downtown arena, but are getting some resistance from the community about using tax dollars to fund it, the newspaper said.

As one of the oldest buildings in the league, the Oilers have stated they will not play in Rexall Place following the expiration of their lease in 2014.

"It's obviously essential that the Oilers have a new arena, it's essential that the city of Edmonton have a new arena as well," said Bettman. "This building is obviously out-dated, and for this city to continue to attract concerts, family shows, conventions, having a new state of-the-art arena is important.

"It's equally important that the Edmonton Oilers have to have a new arena. There is no question about it, they're not going to stay in this arena."

SEAT LICENSES MAY BE USED IN EDMONTON
March 3, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Metro Edmonton cites a report that says it will be up to the Oilers whether seat licenses are introduced in a new downtown arena or ticket prices are simply increased.

"The benefit of a seat license is obviously it does generate revenue," said city manager Simon Farbrother. "(But) the Oilers have felt that maybe the seat license is not something they believe is the ideal situation in the Edmonton market."

A personal seat license gives the holder the right to purchase season tickets for a certain seat.

The proceeds are then used for construction costs. The report will be looked at by city council, which requested the information, the newspaper said.

It states that ticket prices will increase when the Oilers move to a new arena, but that "the increase will be more if PSLs are not used, and less if PSLs are used."

"The team could dispense with PSLs and charge higher ticket prices, or they could charge a PSL and lower ticket prices," states the report.

The city could raise C$250 million through a community-revitalization levy and ticket surcharge for the C$450 million project. Oilers owner Daryl Katz has promised C$100 million.

EDMONTON COUNCIL SETS CONDITIONS ON ARENA APPROVAL
April 7, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - In a 17-part motion, the Edmonton City Council has approved the terms it needs satisfied to move ahead with a C$450 million arena plan that would provide a new home for the Oilers, the Edmonton Journal reported.

The project calls for a C$125 million ticket tax and C$100 million coming from the team's owner, the Katz Group.

The total city contribution would still be C$125 million, but in a major change most of that money would come from taxes on businesses in the facility, redirected subsidies now going to Rexall Place or higher parking revenues, the newspaper said.

A community revitalization levy, based on property taxes generated by new development around the site, will only contribute C$20 million, with any surplus going to other downtown upgrades.

"I was hoping for this. This is an NHL city. Any owner would be thrilled with the deal council put on the table today," Mayor Stephen Mandel told the Journal.

The deal also includes a 30-year location agreement, four weeks of city usage each year that might go to Northlands, Canadian Finals Rodeo or other events, and potential revenue sharing.

The Katz Group, which said after the meeting that it wanted to study the proposal before its next step, has indicated it wants the team playing in a new building by the time its lease at Rexall expires in 2014.

Officials are still waiting for information from Stadium Capital Financing Group about its proposal to fund the project by selling some seats in advance for the life of the facility.

Under the plan, fans would pay an estimated $400,000 for a seat, which they could then resell on the open market, city chief financial officer Lorna Rosen told the Journal.

The Edmonton Sun says the plan still leaves a C$100 million shortfall and that the motions say the project can't move ahead until that issue is resolved.

EDMONTON SKEPTICAL ABOUT SEAT LICENSE PLAN
April 28, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The Edmonton Sun says a proposal to sell seats like real estate to fund the new downtown arena was met by much skepticism from members of city council and dismissed outright by the Oilers owner.

The Chicago-based Stadium Capital Financing Group tried to convince council members that their funding model involving Equity Seat Rights (ESR) is the best solution to meet arena funding shortfalls because it doesn't involve government funds or taxpayer dollars.

The group suggests selling ownership of 1,500 new seats and 500 premium club seats in the new arena at a cost of C$278,000 to C$417,000 each, which could raise up to C$700 million.

Of that C$700 million, C$550 million would be dedicated to funding the new proposed arena, C$100 million would go to Oilers ownership and C$50 million to building the reserve/community benefits fund.

The group proposes a new 20,000-seat arena instead of the 17,100 seats currently at Rexall Place.

Group member Lou Weisbach said the proposal basically targets longtime season ticket holders, along with various investors. He explained that as the price of tickets goes up over time, the advantage will go to the buyer.

"I was told there are a lot of people up in arms about the way this building is being financed. We have a suggestion that we think is agreeable to everybody," said Weisbach, who noted the cost of the seats will not only include 45 Oilers games per season, but also 60 concerts.

"You bring in financial buyers who see this as an economic opportunity to make money over time. I feel that this would work for Edmonton."

The model is currently being used to construct a new stadium for the University of California at Berkeley.

But the newspaper said members of council questioned whether the proposal could work here.

"What would inspire me to spend my money to do that?" said Mayor Stephen Mandel, who noted there's a big stretch in price between a season ticket and what is being proposed.

"It really strikes me as a bit overly zealous. Something that seems so good is always maybe too good to be true."

The Oilers owner, the Katz Group, wants to move the team into a new C$450 million arena downtown. Earlier this month, city council approved a framework, setting out the guidelines city administration will use in arena negotiations with the Katz Group.

Katz would contribute C$100 million to construction costs, with another C$125 million coming from a ticket tax.

A further C$125 million would come from property taxes on new development surrounding the arena and other sources. The funding for the remaining C$100 million is unknown.

Katz group spokesman Bob Black told the Sun in a written statement the Stadium Capital proposal would not work in Edmonton and added that the numbers projected are "something of a flight of fancy."

FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT SIGNED FOR EDMONTON ARENA
May 19, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton has approved a framework agreement with the Katz Group that says the city will own a C$450 million arena and land, while the Katz Group, owner of the NHL Oilers, will operate the building and be responsible for all maintenance, upgrades, operating and capital expense costs, the Edmonton Sun reported.

"It's a very exciting day," Mayor Stephen Mandel told the newspaper. "It's been a frustrating time for everybody, but people persevered and worked very hard."

The city will contribute C$125 million, the Katz Group will chip in C$100 million and another C$125 million will come from a user-paid facility fee to build the venue.

The remaining funds, according to city officials, will come from other levels of government, although the Sun said the province and federal government have previously indicated that they won't be contributing.

The city and Katz Group will now begin to hammer out a master agreement, including securing the another C$100 million.

"This framework allows us to move ahead with this project and ensures that we will continue to align our efforts with what the community has told us are Edmonton's priorities for this important project," city manager Simon Farbrother told the Sun.

Earlier in the day, Katz Group executives urged the city to avoid buying into a seat-selling scheme that could help finance a new downtown arena.

"The entire (idea) is based on speculation about the market for the product," Katz Group chief financial officer Paul Marcaccio told the newspaper. "We prefer to rely on the years of experience of the Oilers organization in understanding their customers."

Marcaccio alongside Black, was speaking out about a seat selling proposal recently pitched by the Stadium Capital Financing Group.

The Chicago-based group tried to convince council last April their funding model involving Equity Seat Rights was the best solution to meet arena funding shortfalls. The group suggested selling ownership of 1,500 new seats and 500 premium club seats in the new arena at a cost of C$278,000 to C$417,000 each, which could raise up to C$700 million.

PROVINCE MAY NOT FUND ARENA; KATZ CONCERNED ABOUT REXALL PLACE
May 26, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Provincial leaders have balked at the idea of spending millions in provincial money on the construction of a new arena in Edmonton, the Edmonton Journal reported.

Premier Ed Stelmach told the newspaper he won't subsidize private business. Conservative leadership candidates vying to replace him say infrastructure priorities lie elsewhere.

Opposition parties also weighed in, saying Albertans won't tolerate the government spending millions of tax dollars on a facility that will put money in a billionaire's pocket, the newspaper said.

"Premier Stelmach has been very clear, there is no direct subsidy for private business," his spokesman Cam Hantiuk told the Journal. "It's not in the cards. It's not going to happen under this premier."

The city and the Katz Group have agreed in principle to build the C$450 million facility, but the deal requires a C$100 million from the province and the federal government.

"We haven't got $100 million laying around for a billionaire and his hockey team," Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason told the newspaper. "If in fact there is $100 million available, then we need to spend it to make sure people get timely health care and keep class sizes small."

Meanwhile, Oilers owner Daryl Katz says Northlands will do the right thing and not operate Rexall Place as a competitor to the downtown arena.

Northlands officials have repeatedly indicated they might continue holding concerts and other events at Rexall if the Oilers move out, but Katz said that wouldn't be best for Edmonton.

"This (project) is in the best interests of the city, and clearly we can't support two arenas," he told the Journal.

"I think between the mayor and his team they've been dealing with that issue and it really hasn't been something that has been in our quarters."

But council member Bryan Anderson warned the arrangement will be derailed unless Rexall is effectively shut down once the downtown facility opens.

"Katz says the city has to exert some kind of influence on Northlands so they will agree not to compete with a new arena. There is not the economics in this town for two arenas," Anderson said.

"If there's no non-competition clause, I think then this deal will fall apart."

It's up to senior city managers to look at other ways for Northlands to collect the revenue it now receives from Rexall, he said.

Northlands is still waiting to see details of the proposed agreement, but a lease that can be renewed until 2049 prevents the city from forcing it to mothball Rexall, spokeswoman Cathy Kiss said.

Northlands president Richard Andersen "has said we would continue to operate the arena unless something different comes to light ... As it sits right now, we don't really know what was discussed last night."

A consultant's report for the city outlining options for Rexall, if the Oilers leave in 2014 as the team hopes, is due later this year.

EDMONTON PROJECT ENDANGERED
July 21, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - A city council member is convinced Premier Ed Stelmach's refusal to help fund the downtown arena has killed the project, the Edmonton Sun reported.

"As far I'm concerned, the deal is off," council member Tony Caterina told the newspaper. "The condition was we needed C$100 million from the province. That tells us the deal is done."

Stelmach said in Calgary - where he gave C$25 million to the Stampede - that the province won't pitch in to help fund the downtown arena.

Stelmach's arena comments came after the city submitted its official funding request to the province, said Edmonton's chief financial officer Lorna Rosen.

Building a downtown arena would cost C$450 million, and while the bulk of that funding would be covered by the Katz Group and city, the plan is still C$100 million short.

The city's request to the premier asks for a provincial contribution of C$100 million for the arena, Rosen said.

The newspaper said there's no Plan B if the province shoots down that request. "We have not strategized in that way," Rosen said.

"We've made a request to the province, we haven't had an official answer back, and until such time I really can't say anything else with respect to that."

The federal government has also refused to put money into the new hockey venue.

Council member Bryan Anderson said it's possible the province could still fund other things that would add up to an equal, yet indirect financial contribution.

PROVINCIAL OFFICIAL SAYS MONEY MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR EDMONTON
July 28, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Premier Ed Stelmach signaled that money from a provincial infrastructure fund might help pay for Edmonton's downtown arena, the Edmonton Journal said.

The Municipal Sustainability Initiative, which provides cities, towns and counties with cash for construction projects, could be increased for the whole province depending on the financial situation, he told reporters.

The move could fill in a C$100 million shortfall in the arena's proposed C$450 million budget, which is one of the major obstacles to completing a deal with Oilers owner Daryl Katz.

However, any decision on the amount of money that could be coming will have to wait until results are available for the first quarter of the province's fiscal year, which ended June 30, Stelmach said.

"It's very premature. The economy is coming back, we know that ... we will see how it goes."

The Journal said he made the announcement after a one-hour meeting with Mayor Stephen Mandel, who made his case for a C$100 million provincial contribution to the arena development.

Although Stelmach has repeatedly stated he won't put public cash into a private business, he made clear the proposed new home for the Oilers would be owned by the city.

Any increase to the 10-year, C$11.3 billion MSI program won't just go to Edmonton, he said. "It's an existing program and the conditions have not changed. The program was available there from Day 1 . ... Three weeks ago the mayor sent a letter saying this arena is in public hands."

Edmonton's C$2.1 billion share of the program is already allocated to roads, overpasses, libraries, pools and other projects, so Mandel said later he hopes the overall funding will be increased.

"New money in MSI will allow the province to help Edmonton meet its goal to build a new arena. The devil is in the details, but we're very appreciative of the premier coming up with a solution that will help everybody in the province," he said.

Mandel doesn't know how long it will take to find out how much money is involved.

"I think the premier will move as quickly as he can on it. Hopefully, it will be sooner than later. We think it will be done before he leaves office (Oct. 1)."

The city council approved an agreement in principle in May on how to build and operate an 18,500-seat arena, including a 35-year location agreement, funding from Katz and city sources, and a framework for resolving other concerns, according to the Journal.

EDMONTON SAYS IT IS PURSING DEAL WITH KATZ
August 11, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The city is working to strike a deal with the Katz Group on a new downtown arena, despite some controversial developments surrounding the plan, the Edmonton Sun reported.

"We have an agreement with the Katz Group," said Mayor Stephen Mandel. "The city is moving forward with that, we negotiated that in good faith."

While Mandel was away on vacation, a source close to arena negotiations told the Sun that the Katz Group was tired of waiting for the deal to move forward.

The source said the Katz Group has been eyeing the Enoch reserve - just west of Edmonton, and site of the River Cree Resort and Casino as a possible home.

Enoch Cree's chief confirmed the Katz Group has visited the reserve - as recently as two months ago to discuss the possibility.

"Enoch's open for business," Chief Ron Morin told the Sun. "We're looking for all kinds of opportunities."

Mandel wouldn't speculate on why the Katz Group has been engaged in talks with Enoch administration.

City council and the Katz Group agreed on a contract framework. The biggest headache in the C$450 million arena plan has been finding the money to pay for it.

As it stands, C$100 million will come from Katz, C$125 million will come from a user fee, and another C$125 million will be funded by a variety of city revenues.

Premier Ed Stelmach has hinted Alberta could help top off the difference through a boost to the provincially funded Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI).

KATZ WANTS EDMONTON DEAL BY OCT. 31
September 22, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Oilers owner Daryl Katz is seeking to wrap up a deal for a new downtown arena by Oct. 31, sources told the Edmonton Journal.

City manager Simon Farbrother, who privately informed city council about Katz's preferred timeline, is expected to present a verbal update on the arena talks at a special council meeting Friday.

Like previous council meetings on the controversial C$450 million project, Farbrother's report is expected to be tabled in private, the newspaper said.

Farbrother told council that the options Katz Group holds on lands set aside for the proposed downtown arena will expire soon, sources told the Journal. That was given as a key reason for the drugstore tycoon's desire to cut a deal by Oct. 31.

Katz Group spokesman Steve Hogle declined comment, referring questions to Jeff Angel, the city's new communications chief. Angel declined comment on whether Katz wants to finalize a deal by Oct. 31, or whether that is tied to the pending expiration of options.

City councilmember Linda Sloan told the Journal Katz has not produced any collateral for his proposed C$100 million investment in the project, and the province has not yet allocated any funds toward it.

"The other thing that hasn't been addressed is Northlands. To my knowledge there have been no further meetings, no further report on our relationship and the impact of this project on them. I can't see council giving much more direction without those key points being clarified," Sloan says. The Northlands is the governing board over Rexall Place where the team now plays.

Angel says all the material facts surrounding any prospective downtown arena deal will be fully disclosed to taxpayers at the appropriate time.

DEADLINE LOOMING FOR EDMONTON COUNCIL
September 29, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The City council will be hard-pressed to finalize key details of an arena decision before a Halloween deadline, but might need to vote on it anyway, the Edmonton Journal reported.

A C$100 million contribution from the provincial government has still not been secured, nor has a non-compete clause between the Katz Group and Northlands, city manager Simon Farbrother told council in an arena update.

But Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz and the Katz Group have said they would like to finalize a deal by Oct. 31, in part because their options on land are set to expire soon. That leaves city hall just five weeks to finalize details.

Council heard the update, then decided to postpone discussion and a possible vote until this week, after councilmember Ben Henderson returns from representing the city on a business forum in Harbin, China.

"We have to collectively make a decision. We're slowly, arduously getting to that point," Mayor Stephen Mandel told the Journal after the meeting.

The council has been discussing the potential arena for 212 years. "I don't appreciate the deadline being placed upon us, but there's frustration from all sides. We need to come to some conclusions, yea or nay.

"I think pressure needs to be put on the province, too," Mandel added. "This is a very political issue, but it's a very important issue to many citizens of Edmonton. We need to try to resolve it."

The arena is expected to cost C$450 million, with C$125 million coming from the city through a community revitalization levy and other reassigned funds.

The Katz Group has also committed C$100 million, and C$125 million would come through a ticket tax.

If the arena deal goes ahead, the city would also need to budget between C$57 million and C$72 million to buy the land, build an LRT station and construct a pedestrian bridge, if the city decides to include that in the design.

EDMONTON SKETCHES OUT ARENA DEAL
October 20, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Without a publicly announced land price, and without expected provincial funding in place, Edmonton officials have approved the structure of an arena deal, the Edmonton Journal reported.

In a special meeting originally billed as a time to hear a report on a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the city council voted to buy land proposed as the site for a new home for the Oilers. The land purchase option amount will remain private until the deal is done. A motion to reveal who owns the land and shares in it - and how much they paid - was defeated. The plan was pitched as a compromise, with the Katz Group giving up the prospects of a non-compete clause from the Oilers' current landlords, Northlands.

The council will vote on the total package - as it's fleshed out - in its Oct. 26 meeting. "We have the makings of a deal - the council has to decide if it's beneficial, good or bad," Mayor Stephen Mandel told the newspaper.

City manager Simon Farbrother penciled in terms that will include a C$350 million loan for the city. The larger loan risk - which includes the C$125 million city contribution - will be secured by things like parking revenues, user fees and seven percent ticket taxes.

"The guarantee that the team is worth a fair amount of money is part of that (security)," Mandel said, noting that in a deal worked out with Bettman, the team pledges to stay for 35 years.

The Katz Group will not put its money up front. Instead it will pay C$5.5 million a year in rent, a write-off, for 30 years. That will be offset for 10 years in part by the C$2 million a year in marketing fees Mandel said the city will spend with the arena as part of the hammered-out agreement.

New in the deal is a grand entrance that's actually a pedway over 104th Avenue that could cost between C$20 million and C$50 million, a cost to be shared between the city and the Katz Group. The amount is above the C$450 total cost.

The total plan continues to pin hopes for C$100 million from the province and recently elected Premier Alison Redford who was on record as one of the candidates most opposed to provincial funding for the arena, the Journal reported.

EDMONTON COUNCIL VOTES TO PURSUE ARENA
October 27, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - The Edmonton City Council has voted to move ahead with a C$450 million arena, the Edmonton Journal reported.

While the Oilers won't be able to leave their current home in Rexall Place in the fall of 2014 as originally planned, city officials said they could be ready to move the following season.

Mayor Stephen Mandel expects announcements about new businesses in the entertainment district around the arena shortly after council signs off on a final contract in a few weeks.

"I think development is the easy part of this. You will have hotels, restaurants ... you will have all sorts of life," he told the Journal.

The plan, which passed 10-3, uses money from the city, Oilers owner Daryl Katz, a ticket tax and a hoped-for contribution from the province.

If bids from construction companies are higher, either side can walk away from the deal. Katz had committed to investing an additional C$100 million into surrounding projects when the market warrants, but in a last-minute change on which he was consulted will now put in C$30 million before arena construction starts.

Once the agreement was approved, council members immediately started the ball rolling toward construction by approving C$30 million for design work.

This should mean an interim schematic diagram will be ready next spring and a final design, which the city and Katz must both accept, going to council in November 2012 so the project can be sent out to tender to set a price, the newspaper said.

In the meantime, Mandel is taking the next crucial step toward seeing the arena built - convincing a reluctant provincial government to provide C$100 million in some form to complete the financing.

Premier Alison Redford has indicated the issue isn't one of her top priorities, but Mandel said he wants to meet her to explain how funding could be arranged.

"This is a project about northern Alberta. It's not just about Edmonton. Edmonton shouldn't be the only one paying for it. The province should come to the table and help us."

In addition to the arena construction budget, the city plans to spend C$72 million to C$82 million for the land, half the cost of a pedway over 104th Avenue and rail connections.

The arena plan also includes the possibility of the city building a separate community rink next door if the province and the federal government each kick in a third of the budget.

Edmonton Mayor Planning Pitch to Province
November 3, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel is planning his strategy for convincing the province to invest in a new arena, the Edmonton Sun reported.

"We'll present to the province a variety of ideas which we think have merit," Mandel said told the newspaper.

Plans for a C$450 million arena moved forward after council green-lighted revised arena framework.

While most of the funding will come from the city, Katz Group and a ticket tax, the project is still C$100 million short.

Mandel said he plans on approaching the province again over the next few days.

"Right now we're moving ahead as quick as possible," he said.

"Hopefully we'll be able to put our package together soon enough."

Council member Tony Caterina said he thinks it's unlikely the province will help fund the project, especially after it lost an anticipated C$93 million in expected federal funding for the Royal Alberta Museum.

"That created even more of a question mark on how this could possibly move forward," Caterina said.

"Unless some other creative talk of money appears from somewhere, I don't know what we are going to do."

Political Minister for Edmonton Thomas Lucaszuk has said no to arena funding.

Rexall Place
Rexall Place
Rexall Place
Rexall Place
Rexall Place
Rexall Place

January 19, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

ICON Venue Group will be the project manager for Edmonton's proposed C$450 million downtown arena, city officials told the Edmonton Journal. Kansas City-based 360 Architecture is the preferred architect for the project, although a contract has not yet been signed, said Tim Romani, CEO of ICON and principal in charge of the Edmonton arena project. ICON has been hired to bring the project to a stage where 60 per cent of the design is completed and a guaranteed maximum price is secured. The full budget - including a missing C$100 million - must be in place by March or April 2013 to sign construction contracts and finish the 18,400-seat arena in time for the 2015-16 hockey season, said Romani.

Rogers Place

OILERS PICK GROUP FOR DEVELOPMENT AROUND ARENA
February 9, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton-based WAM Development Group will help the Oilers develop the lands surrounding the proposed site of Edmonton's new downtown arena, the Edmonton Sun reported.

WAM will acquire a minority equity position in the properties the Katz Group currently owns and has rights to acquire around the arena. WAM will also help with the master plan, engaging architects, construction firms and other professionals, assessing economic viability and coordinating financing.

The company will manage construction, leasing and managing retail and commercial space. The goal, said Katz Group VP John Karvellas, will be a walkable and vibrant city core. The land surrounds the site of the planned new city-owned arena; Katz's Oilers NHL team will be the primary tenant for the arena. The Katz Group selected WAM following a review and evaluation of several different real estate

development organizations. Financial terms of the arrangement will not be disclosed, the press release said.

WAM will not be involved in the development by the Katz Group and the City of Edmonton of the arena itself, nor the operation of the arena once it is completed, the release said.

March 22, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Representatives from the Katz group and the city of Edmonton, Alberta spoke at a trade show and conference for construction and real estate managers at the Edmonton Expo Centre and said a new arena could be open in as little as three years, according to the web site Global Edmonton. They said the target for the arena's opening is the summer of 2015. That is if everything goes as planned. There is no official architect in place but an announcement is expected soon. While not formally announced, the web site said it appears the firm is working on plans already.

POLL FINDS NO SUPPORT FOR PROVINCE TO FUND EDMONTON ARENA
April 5, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Edmonton, Alberta - Provincial funding should be fast-tracked for the planned light rail expansion to Mill Woods, but should not be used to support a new NHL arena, a new poll said. Pollster Ian Large of Leger Marketing told the Edmonton Journal the results on the arena are definitive, as two-thirds of Edmontonians surveyed said they opposed provincial funding going toward the construction of the downtown facility.

About 30 per cent approved of the idea.

"That group is probably season-ticket holders," Large said. "We have had this debate for so long, but when you have 67 per cent saying there should be no provincial money spent, this will cause a significant challenge for Mayor (Stephen) Mandel and for council as they try to define the funding formula for the arena."

The city hopes to convince the provincial and federal governments to contribute $100 million to the project, but the Redford government has repeatedly said no. The city is allowed to use its share of Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding for the arena, though that amount is not increasing this year.

The March 22-25 telephone survey of 1,215 Albertans has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The margin increases to 4.6 percentage points when just Edmonton results are considered.

Rogers Place

Rogers Place

Rogers Place

Rogers Place

He won't say as much, but former Edmonton Oiler Wayne Gretzky likes to see sports statues where teams play
April 24, 2013
By Terry Jones, Sun Media

It’s about the great Gretzky statue debate.

Ought not the guy the statue represents be asked whether he thinks it should remain in front of the Northlands Coliseum, where he played, or downtown in front of the new Rexall Place, where the Oilers are going to play?

“Whatever they decide is good by me,” said Gretzky Wednesday in an exclusive telephone interview about the debate raging back in Edmonton.

“Having a statue anywhere is a tremendous honour. So, to me, I guess it’s a minor issue.”

But ask the question a different way, about the statues of other greats in other games, and you get a different answer.

“I know when I take my kids to a game somewhere and there’s a statue outside the stadium and I can stand there and tell them about the story of that player, I get a kick out of that,” Gretzky said, returning my call yesterday.

Gretzky can do that with his statue outside the Staples Centre every time he goes to a Los Angeles Kings game.

Gretzky played all his games with the Kings out at the Forum, about an hour away in Inglewood.

There was never a statue of anybody outside the Forum.

But one of the fun things about going to an L.A. Kings game in the area known as “L.A Live,” the inspiration and model for what they’re trying to create with the arena downtown in Edmonton, is watching people get their pictures taken with the statues. There’s Gretzky, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Oscar de la Hoya and one of the most popular ones of all (you can sit beside him) is Lakers’ broadcaster Chick Hearn.

“I haven’t stopped in front of the one of me because my kids don’t want to hear about me,” Gretzky laughs.

“I think it’s great how parents and grandparents can do that, taking kids to games and the kids can learn about history and maybe what that athlete meant to their dad or grandpa.”

For the longest time Gretzky avoided his Edmonton statue.

He went his entire playing career, after he was sold to Los Angeles by Peter Pocklington, not once looking at his statue after the ceremony in which it was unveiled.

He revealed that to me after he made a surprise visit to Edmonton (“Hey Slats, can you get me two tickets for tonight’s game?” “Sure. Whose name should I put them in?” “Mine.”) for Game 4 of the Dallas-Edmonton playoff series after his Great Goodbye in New York in 1999 and before his return for his banner unveiling the following season.

“That’s the first time I saw my statue outside.” he said.

“I didn’t want to look at it. I’d always avoid looking at it when the bus would drive up to the rink.

“I hated coming back to Edmonton to play. I say that in the best possible way. You know how I hated to come back and play in there. It was really hard. I never liked it. I never really felt comfortable. I always felt so much a part of the team and so much a part of the city. I dreaded it.”

Going to visit his statue on the way into the rink was part of the Edmonton exorcism.

“When we drove up to the rink it was the first thing we did. Mike Barnett (his agent at the time) and I walked by my statue and took a real good look at it out there.”

Gretzky also has a statue in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame building at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. It is the featured statue at the entrance in the gorgeous new shrine where several others are located, the most brilliant one being of curler Sandra Schmirler.

Gretzky has yet to visit that statue.

“I was shown all the designs and the photos of it and it’s very cool,” he said.

“The thing I wanted in that one because it’s right where Hockey Canada is headquartered, is that I’d be wearing a Team Canada jersey,” he said.

Gretzky, though, says his favourite statue of himself is the one in Edmonton.

“It’s symbolic,” he said, adding there was so much emotion involved.

“Edmonton is the best. It has the Stanley Cup.

“In that era, and it’s maybe not the same now, but unless you won the Stanley Cup you weren’t … Unless you lifted the Cup. It’s what we used to talk about, being like Bobby Orr and Guy Lefleur and Bryan Trottier and winning the Stanley Cup.”

There has been a boom in sports statue building since Gretzky’s original was commissioned to be placed outside the building where he played and where all those championship banners (which are damn sure going to be moved to the new rink, along with all the other memorabilia) hang.

The state of the sports-statue-building art, especially in the area of uniform representation, has improved since the original Gretzky statue. But there is only one original.

As for moving it, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.

The statues of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita are in front of the United Centre, not across the road on the site of Chicago Stadium where they used to play.

In Pittsburgh, the Honus Wagner statue has been at all three parks — Forbes Field, Three Rivers Stadium and the new PNC location.

Al Kaline, my childhood idol, and Ty Cobb were both moved about the same distance is from Northlands to downtown, from Tiger Stadium to outside Comerica Park in Detroit.

Hank Aaron’s statue was moved from County Stadium in Milwaukee, where he played for the Braves, to Miller Park, where the Brewers now play.

Richie Ashburn, Steve Carleton, Robin Roberts and Mike Schmidt were all moved in Philadelphia from outside the park where they played to the new one.

Stan ‘The Man’ Musial’s statue was the only statue outside the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis and moved to in front of the new one. That was just down the block, mind you.

The same with ‘The monuments’ in the outfield at Yankee Stadium. The new Yankee Stadium is across the street.

Willie Mays and Willie McCovey played in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Their statues are in front of the new downtown AT&T.

It’s part of the culture of San Francisco now to say “Meet you at the McCovey statue” or “Meet you at Willie’s statue.”

You want to see the Mario Lemieux statue? In front of the new rink in Pittsburgh.

Gordie Howe played in the old Olympia in Detroit. His statue is at The Joe.

Bobby Orr’s is in front of the new rink in Boston.

You won’t find Maurice Richard’s in front of the old Forum in Montreal. It’s downtown at the Bell Centre.

Wilt Chamberlain in Philadelphia, Walter Johnson in Washington, Roberto Clemente in Pittsburgh … their statues weren’t where they played, it’s where their teams currently play.

There’s one case where a statue has remained, that I know of, and that’s the statue of John Landy looking over his shoulder as Roger Bannister passes him on the other side in running ‘The Miracle Mile’ at the 1954 British Empire Games in Empire Stadium in Vancouver.

Well, not exactly where it was.

It used to be at the entrance to Empire Stadium. After the stadium was demolished, the sculpture was moved to the corner of the property at Hastings and Renfrew at the entrance to the PNE grounds.

More seagulls visit it than people.

The Gretzky statue is Edmonton’s iconic backdrop for stand-up TV shots on the Oilers. It won’t be, if the team is downtown and the statue remains where it is.

Gretzky has too much class to come out and say “please move it where the team plays” but I believe that is where he’d say it should be if the decision was left to him.

And it is where I think it belongs — where thousands of today’s fans can view it before every game in the epicentre of the new vibrant Edmonton downtown core that it’s going to be if they ever get the damn shovel in the ground.

Edmonton Oilers (WHA) / Edmonton Oilers (NHL)

Edmonton
Gardens

Edmonton
Gardens

1972-1974
Northlands
Coliseum

Northlands Coliseum

1974-1979
Rexall
Place

Rexall Place

1979-Present
Rogers
Place

Rogers Place

Future


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