For the past several years, details on the potential new building for the Calgary Flames building were as follows: they wanted one because the Saddledome is old.
This morning, the fine folks at the Calgary Herald – notably Jason Markusoff of the city hall beat – worked their magic and basically gave us a very nice dump of info regarding the project, which to this point had more or less been theoretical and confirming many whispers and suspicions surrounding it.
Per the Herald‘s sources, the proposal reportedly includes:
- A new arena for the Calgary Flames
- A new stadium for the Calgary Stampeders, also owned by the Flames
- A new amateur fieldhouse, which the city has been trying to get funding to build for years
According to the Herald, all three projects would be bundled together into the same complex.
The project is also reportedly targeted for the West Village land, located west of the old Mewata Stadium and roughly comprising the area that includes the Greyhound station and GSL Chev City. The city owns the vast majority of the proposed land. Much like the East Village, the city has had designs on developing the West Village land into mixed-used developments. In theory, a new arena/stadium project could be used as a centerpiece for a mixed-used development, depending on how it was designed.
In terms of transportation, the West Village has good and bad points. The good? The Sunalta LRT station is right there, as is Bow Trail. The bad? Crowchild is also there, and it’s a mess. But the city has a relatively-new Crowchild Trail study going on, designed to make that area less of a traffic nightmare. But obviously several roads would need to be re-thought if this project goes forward.
And in terms of funding this mega-project, the combination of being in an area the city wants to develop and including a project that the city wants to build is a smart move. The Edmonton Oilers managed to swing a pretty decent funding arrangement up north, in part because they were savvy enough to position that project as a centerpiece in making Edmonton’s downtown a place human beings want to visit. The Flames have seemingly hedged themselves against any public backlash against funding by (a) placing the project in the under-developed West Village, (b) placing near the eventually-upgraded Crowchild Trail corridor and (c) including the fieldhouse. Heck, bundling the arena and stadium together also lessens the perception of double-dipping in asks for public money, too.
So what’s next? That’s unclear. Per Markusoff:
King shared his plans with Nenshi in mid-March, then the mayor relayed it to council in a closed-door session Monday evening, multiple sources have confirmed. But there’s still no formal proposal submitted to council, and it’s unclear when King will finally reveal the ambitious concept to the public, though he did say a month ago the release was a “couple of weeks” away.
Presumably, once the project evolves slightly more – as it’s progressed from a idea or a notion into what seems to be a pretty decent plan – King and Flames ownership will present that plan to city council and then the public at-large. Considering that every time the media or public have been given a timeline about the project announcement, it’s come and gone unceremoniously, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
But it appears we are getting closer.