At this point, we’ve all
probably consumed the maximum amount of CalgaryNEXT content available to us,
and water coolers around the city are buzzing with excitement of what the
project may hold.
Few concrete details are
known at this point – a significant bulk of information will come at
Tuesday’s media and season ticket holder announcement – but from what we can
gather, the CalgaryNEXT project will for sure include:
• An arena for the Calgary Flames
• A stadium for the Calgary Stampeders
• A fieldhouse for the Stamps, Flames
and the public (Flames would utilize it for off-ice training)
There has also been speculation that it will include commercial and residential aspects, which make sense considering the slogan “Work. Live. Play.”
My bet is
it’ll piggyback off of The
Gila River Arena, the Staples
Center and others around the NHL in instituting its own little
town-within-a-town, with shops and bars and those awesome little cobblestone
streets. It’ll be a destination for more than just the regular sports fan.
It’ll be a destination for all Calgarians and tourists alike.
A good comparable I’d say is Edmonton’s future ICE District – which is
essentially the redevelopment of eight or so city blocks, including an arena
for the Oilers and Edmonton’s first building exceeding 8 stories in height. A Calgary Sun source likened the project to Lansdowne Park in Ottawa.
City has wanted to redevelop the West End of Downtown much like they have the
East Village and inject some life in an area littered with car
dealerships and questionable alleyways, while the Flames wanted facilities
for their sports empire. This will be the compromise.
also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Flames and City somehow work
the restructuring/remaking of Crowchild Trail into the project, so that
the road connecting the city’s north and south will conveniently feed
right into the Superplex. That’s just speculation on my part,
Paying For It All?
No doubt the
biggest source of debate ever since it was suggested the Flames would
need a new arena, the appetite for tax payers to subsidize some of the cost is
minute at best. As long as Naheed Nenshi and Rachel Notley are in power, there
should be no concerns about tax payer dollars directly going towards the arena,
because “it ain’t gonna happen, boss.” Both politicians are strict in
their agenda to serve ALL the people, and a sports complex that
generates revenue for a private corporation isn’t exactly that, regardless
the number of taxpaying citizens that will attend and enjoy events at
In line with that thinking, reports indicate the Flames will bear the entire cost of the
arena themselves. Hooray! Although it feels weird
celebrating something that seems so commonsensical. “Hey taxpayers,
can you build me this thing that will make me super rich? Thanks!”
arena will be funded completely with private dollars, don’t think the
entire project will follow suit.
already been reported the Flames will ask the City for a 200 million dollar
contribution towards the fieldhouse, and that’s just the tip of the
this project as an urban development and giving it a catchy, hip name like
CalgaryNEXT leads me to believe the Flames will be looking to “partner”
with the city on this project which may be code for “give us lots of
freebies and favours cause we’re your partners in achieving YOUR dream
of redeveloping the West End.”
The City had
plans to build a $200 million fieldhouse to begin with, so essentially
asking for a relocation of the project is entirely reasonable on the
Flames part, but that won’t be all. Since included in the arena and stadium
project will likely be economic drivers like shops and bars and maybe condos,
then the Flames are probably asking the City to give
them the land for free. I don’t know if I have a
big problem with that, but it’s public contribution
the issue of the the Creosote contamination that exists on
the proposed land and under the Bow River, which makes any immediate
development impossible. But as our own Ryan Pike pointed out, the solution for that may come
the way of public dollars as well:
a Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, which the
recent federal budget just jazzed up with more funding. Granted, it’s unlikely
that the old Canada Creosote site could be completely cleaned up on the federal
dime – there’s a lot of projects that fall under the purview
of the Contaminated Sites umbrella – but if you’re the Flames ownership, you’d
be very happy if any part of the project got funded even in part. It’s money
you don’t have to spend.”
So BAM, more
tax money. Again, I don’t have a huge problem – or any problem –
with the Federal Government contributing to clean up a toxic situation that
needs to be dealt with sooner or later (not exactly comfortable with
having toxic waste underneath my city’s drinking water source, but that’s just
me), but that’s further contribution from Taxpayer Terry to a private project.
And that’s still probably not all. The Flames missed the boat in terms of negotiating an
LRT track/station running into the complex for direct access, since
the Sunalta Station has been servicing the area for years now, but they lined
themselves up nicely with the revamping of Crowchild Trail.
The City is
conducting a study on the road which connects the north and south of city and
experiences apocalyptic backups daily during the rush hour peak, which is expected to be completed by 2016 with a proposal being brought
to City Council in 2017. If you’ve ever sat in Crowchild traffic at rush hour,
you know how INSUFFERABLY ANNOYING IT IS AND I HATE IT SO MUCH AND IT’S STUPID
AND UGGGHHH and this study is highly necessary in bringing a remodel to
the primary stretch of tarmac that can no longer handle the amount of volume
it’s subjected to.
Kenneth Paul King.
“Since you’re remaking one of the city’s most important
roads why don’t you run it through our project here so Calgarians can have
the access to it they deserve”. BAM. Now your cash cow has Grade A access,
something the Dome is arguably missing.
indirectly, the project sucks up even more public dollars.
So, while on
the surface it looks like the Flames are doing it all themselves and just
asking for the city to consider moving their original fieldhouse project,
taxpayers will still likely be heavily investing in CalgaryNEXT. As pointed out
though, the public dollars will be going towards things that have to
be done anyways, they’ll just likely be done in such a way that favors the
means that means my tax dollars aren’t going directly into the wallets of
Flames executives, I don’t have a huge problem with things playing out the
way I illustrated above. That’s just me, though.
relates to the sporting facilities (the arena and stadium),
my wish-list is longer than a greedy brat’s Christmas list. I won’t
get into everything because we’d be here all day, but there a few wishes I’d
like to voice.
arena, a design that favors both sport and concert settings is paramount. No
more going to Edmonton for concerts. It’s embarrassing.
strictly hockey and lacrosse perspective, most every seat in the Dome has an
acceptable view of the playing surface, depending on how much you paid for
your tickets – obviously the view quality increases with price – so no
complaints there. Once you exit the bowl housing the playing surface is where
it gets rough in our dear ol’ Dome. The concourse needs to be a focus in
the new arena because the Saddledome concourse is a circus.
essentially has one concourse level (it’s multi level in some obscure areas)
where everything resides – concession and washrooms specifically – and it’s an
absolute sewer. Navigating through the washroom and concession lines takes
serious skill. The
Gila River arena in Glendale has three concourse levels and I’d like
to see the new arena in Calgary adopt a similar multi-concourse design.
concourse set up works so well in part though because there are only between 7
and 10 fans populating it at any one time, so keep that in mind.
getting into a nitpicky area, but underground or at least sheltered parking for
those punishing winter months would also be greatly appreciated. I’m not a big
fan of freezing my expletive off every time I go to a game from late October to
early April. The access in and out of an underground parkade would have to be
very well done so to avoid Crowchild-level backups post-game. Nonetheless, a
completely indoor trek from my vehicle to the game is definitely something I
want to see.
also said a completely indoor path from an LRT to the new stadium would also be
high on my wish list, but the aforementioned Sunalta Station’s geographical
location and it’s architectural situation would probably make that impossible.
I mean, Edmonton will have the LRT run right into its ICE District but
As for the
football stadium and field house, I haven’t as many desires as it pertains to
those two buildings as I do for the arena, personally. Although I love my football, I spend the majority of my sport viewing time in an arena as opposed to a field.
Having said that, I would indeed like to see a roof on the stadium to nix those brutal
-30 November Stampeder games and also to maybe entice mega-stars to play
concerts at such a giant venue without fear of noise restraints.
I also hope the design of the stadium allows it to be easily transformed into a soccer pitch, opening the door for a Tier II soccer team to move in – like is present in Edmonton – and possibly the eventual addition of an MLS team. To my knowledge, there are no professional level indoor soccer facilities as in Calgary as it stands today. And while I don’t know the potential appetite for professional soccer in Calgary, I’d assume it’s considerable given the high immigrant population, alongside soccer’s growing profile in our country.
hope all these facilities are built with some real architectural innovation and
don’t end up as eyesores on the skyline. Both the arena and stadium will become
icons on the Calgary skyline along with the new Bow Tower and other current
regulars, and it’s important they stand out in a bold, but positive way. Don’t
let the Country Hills Blue Ring guy design these things, is all I’m
knows, maybe they’ll even be enough to entice the Olympics to make a return to
Calgary, as well. Wouldn’t that be fun?
your thoughts on this impending project, and what’s on your
arena/stadium/fieldhouse wish list?