Progress in new arena deal for Calgary? | CTV News – CTV News Calgary

  • September 14, 2022

Discussions on building a new state-of-the-art arena in Calgary have been dragged out for years, but an update is expected Wednesday.
The last time the Calgary event centre committee spoke with reporters on the state of negotiations was after a meeting in July, when city officials indicated there was reason for optimism on the potential for a future arena deal.
Calgarians have not received any substantial updates on the progression of those discussions since the city announced it had recruited three people from the commercial real estate sector to revive or restructure a deal with the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC).
Wednesday’s meeting is expected to shed some light on the work that’s been done behind closed doors for the past five months, and comes as the Calgary Flames are gearing up for a season in which they are once again expected to contend for a Stanley Cup.
"You need to have a good product on the ice if you’re going to ask the public for a quarter of a billion dollars at a minimum," said Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in the department of economics at Concordia University.
"There’s just no way that you can put some sort of trust the process type rebuilding, five-year plan in place. You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot and so you’ve got to make sure that the fans remain engaged."
The Flames’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Wranglers, will also be joining the NHL club in Calgary and will play out of the aging Scotiabank Saddledome this upcoming season.
An agreement to build a new event centre to replace the 39-year-old facility was signed in December 2019, with the city and CSEC splitting the cost of the $550 million project. 
Costs eventually increased to $634 million, and the deal expired on New Year’s Eve 2021.
Lander says the longer this process gets dragged out; the more inflated the price will become.
"Materials are not going to get any cheaper, the workers that are going to be used in the construction of that arena are not going to get any cheaper, and the land value is not going to go down. It’s not going to get cheaper. So with each passing year, that number goes up," he said.
"I don’t think there’s a way that the city is going to gain a lot by holding out. They’ve already had an arrangement where more or less they agreed to 50 per cent. It’s hard to go back to the negotiating table now and say, ‘now we’re only going to offer 40 per cent’. I think their share is only going to go up in dollar terms, which means that the ask on citizens and taxpayers is going to go up too."
Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and can be viewed live online here.
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