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  • New arena deal fair for city, on to next steps

    Plans to build a new arena in downtown Edmonton have taken a significant step forward with City Council’s approval of an agreement framework between the City and the Katz Group. The framework outlines the principles both parties will use to finalize the terms of a master agreement.

    Council has given City administration the mandate to work with the Katz Group and other stakeholders to make the downtown arena become a reality. The framework agreement addresses the funding, design, building and operation of the arena.

    We believe the agreement is a fair deal for Edmonton and for the Katz Group. It responds to the key points we heard from Edmontonians in our consultation last year:
    • it minimizes the City’s risk,
    • it ensures no current tax dollars will go to the project and,
    • it keeps the Oilers in Edmonton for 35 years.


    The City’s $125 million contribution to the construction costs of an arena will be generated in part through a Community Revitalization Levy ($45 million) while the remaining $80 million will come from sources such as new parking revenue, tax revenue from the arena, and redirected City subsidies.

    Edmontonians told us users of the facility should pay for part of the new building so a user-pay Facility Improvement Fee will raise $125 million to put towards design and construction. And the $100 million contribution of the Katz Group is confirmed.

    Having this agreement in place now enables both parties to pursue funding from other levels of government to make up the $100 million shortfall in the $450 million maximum price that has been set for the arena.

    The framework agreement also states clearly that the City will own the land and building and the Katz Group will be responsible for operations including all operating costs and the costs of all capital upgrades, maintenance and improvements. In return they will receive all operating revenues, including naming rights and parking revenues. That’s a deal that we believe helps mitigate the City’s risks.

    The design of the new arena is critical to the revitalization of the downtown area. The agreement spells out that any design must be acceptable to both parties. The City will ensure that there is public input into the design. From our perspective, the arena design must support the Capital City Downtown Plan, integrate into the surrounding community and contribute to downtown revitalization.

    The framework also reaffirms that a community benefit agreement will be a key component of the master agreement and includes conditions such as a requirement for access to the building each year to stage large community events such as Capital EX or the Canadian Finals Rodeo. It also references the redevelopment of the entertainment district area around the arena, a critical piece of revitalizing this part of our city.

    We believe that this project, if done right, has tremendous potential to contribute to revitalization of our downtown.

    Much work remains to be done before the first shovel hits the ground, but both partners are committed to working together. Next steps will be to secure the additional $100 million, finalize a master agreement, clearly define the CRL boundary, and define a process to engage Edmontonians in the design of the arena.

    This is another step forward for our community that will complement efforts already underway to enhance the vibrant, dynamic and appealing downtown that Edmontonians want.

    To stay informed as this project progresses visit www.edmonton.ca/downtownarena.

    Guest column submitted by:

    Simon Farbrother - City Manager

    Office of the City Manager
    City of Edmonton
    3rd Floor, City Hall
    1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
    Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2R7
    Ow

  • #2
    All,

    We've had some issues with our column section on the front page, so I will just post this guest column submitted by Simon Farbrother directly here.
    Ow

    Comment


    • #3
      There are, loosely speaking, two types of arena backers whose views deserve respect:

      (1) Oiler fans who just want the assurance our team will stay.

      (2) Urban visionaries who believe that the arena will promote downtown development and revitalization.

      The first group's goals are obvious, understandable, and unimpeachable. If Katz will move the team otherwise, there is little choice.

      The second group's goals, however, very possibly are not met by the deal as it has been made.

      The Katz group has received so much control over the arena that it will be the major driver in its design. It is not at all certain that urban-revitalization goals will loom large in the arena plans. Indeed, details like the inclusion of a covered pedway over 104 Avenue suggest that the arena is not being planned so as to promote active street life, and that the city's assurances about retaining some control over the design are empty.

      Under the circumstances, therefore, the arena becomes nothing but a sop to Oiler fans, and in view of the control the city has yielded, the probable fiscal destruction of Northlands, and the amount of public money being invested, the arena deal is a catastrophe.

      If, as it now seems the most likely outcome, the arena's design will fail to promote urban revitalization, then Mayor Mandel and the other great backers will deserve utter condemnation and the harshest possible political defeat in the next election.

      Even if you are as I am an Oiler fan.

      There were better ways of doing this, surely.
      Last edited by alex69; 02-06-2011, 09:02 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by alex69 View Post
        The Katz group has received so much control over the arena that it will be the major driver in its design. It is not at all certain that urban-revitalization goals will loom large in the arena plans. Indeed, details like the inclusion of a covered pedway over 104 Avenue suggest that the arena is not being planned so as to promote active street life.

        ......................

        Mayor Mandel and the other great backers deserve utter condemnation and the harshest possible political defeat in the next election.
        the arena will generate tax revenue over many many years to come. i know it must be hard to think of the city's future in the long term.

        Mandel has been a leader in city revitalization and development and overall vision (city centre airport lands, expo, LRT and TOD, and the new arena.) I think the overpass would create a safe zone for people crossing 104 in massive numbers and will generate other pockets of activity once outside it.

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        • #5
          ^I did qualify my condemnation, to make it work in case all the high hopes come to naught. (To be fair, after you quoted it.)

          The city's hopes for the arena's positive consequences remind me, to mix sports metaphors very badly, of a Hail Mary pass.

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          • #6
            Thanks for your hard work Simon. I know that more details have to be agreed upon, but I am confident that an agreement can be reached.
            "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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            • #7
              Yes, Thanks Simon!
              Originally posted by The_Cat View Post
              Thanks for your hard work Simon. I know that more details have to be agreed upon, but I am confident that an agreement can be reached.

              Comment


              • #8
                So this site won't let some guy promote his little painting company, but it'll allow front page space to go to Mandel & Katz's arena scheme?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd be more than a little concerned about the "if conditions warrant" for the extra $100 mil in ancilliary development.

                  Without that, all you are doing is transplanting the dead space around current rexall for dead space downtown

                  This deal gets worse and worse all the time
                  Last edited by 240GLT; 02-06-2011, 12:30 PM.
                  Over promise and under deliver. It’s the most Edmonton thing you can do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ... That entertainment district is going have huge demand... Towers might take some time.


                    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by armin View Post
                      So this site won't let some guy promote his little painting company, but it'll allow front page space to go to Mandel & Katz's arena scheme?
                      Ya I don't get it. Why would c2e want to debate a civic building. We should just let this place turn into kijiji!
                      A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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                      • #12
                        i say, let's forget about the new arena. let's just keep rexall.

                        but it still has to be renovated. so, us taxpayers should just write a cheque for 250 million now (the amount taken from northlands own report on rexall renovations)

                        sure, northlands will go to the province and the feds, but tax dollars are tax dollars.

                        so, in the end, taxpayers will be paying; we'll end up with a renovated arena (still looking all 'sexy concrete bunker' 1970's) with still no real chance of street level activity because of the underpass. we'll still have a vacant gravel lot/ parking area north edge of downtown that will remain that way for a long time. i like that fact outside investors/ vistors will see that and continue to think of us soley as industrial red necks. and i also like that born and raised edmontonians will go to our fine post secondary schools, but ultimately leave for greener pastures for places that aren't afraid of change.

                        oh, yeah, and we lose katz's 100 million.

                        yeah, let's just drop this whole new dt arena thing right now, because the mayor and katz want to hose the taxpayers and laugh all the way into the sunset.

                        Last edited by thatguy; 02-06-2011, 10:03 PM.

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                        • #13
                          ^Frankly there is a portion of the population that would not be satisfied unless the new arena was built completely with private money and compete with Rexall.
                          Did my dog just fall into a pothole???

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                          • #14
                            Let's not go to extremes like "all public" or "all private". That's not the point.

                            The point is that the public side is not getting enough control based on its investment. And our mayor Mandel is just fine with that. Why?

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                            • #15
                              Not enough control???? The city will own the land and the building. The city will have to approve the design before the complex is built. Katz will be responsible for all the upkeep to the facility. How much more control should you expect the city to have???

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