Thinking critically about CalgaryNEXT: What’s a CRL?


In the Flames proposed funding model for the CalgaryNEXT arena project, they included a public contribution in the amount of $240 million from a “CRL” or Community Revitalization Levy. Also called Tax Increment Financing (TIF), CRL’s are employed by municipalities as a way to finance redevelopment of blighted areas. 

Contrary to what you might hear from the Flames and their boosters, CRL’s are not “found money” for a city. In infrastructure funding, as in anything, there’s no free lunch. In fact, CRL’s are complex long term gambles cities take that come with attendant risks and consequences. 

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How Does a CRL Work?

Here’s how The City of Calgary defines a CRL:

A levy imposed in respect of the incremental assessed value of property in a community revitalization levy area to raise revenue to be used toward the payment of infrastructure and other costs associated with the redevelopment of property in the community revitalization levy area. 

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Okay, that doesn’t help at all.

In English, what the above means is the city draws an imaginary border around a given area – usually one that is run down and in need of significant infrastructure investment. Then the municipality will borrow a big chunk of cash to execute the redevelopment. The levy will then be used to re-pay the loan via incremental (read: improved) property values yielded from the area as things get better. 

An illustration: Imagine you own a bar. In your bar you have 12 pub tables and a dart board. The board is located at the far end of the bar with lousy lighting and a drafty window. Aside from a couple of old regulars, nobody plays darts and it’s too dark and cold to be inviting. All told, the far end of the building maybe generates $100 a week in revenue for you.

So you decide to invest in your bar by redeveloping the dart board area. You take out a bank loan for $12,000, fix the window, put in new light fixtures, remove the dart board and put in seating and a pool table. In order to make sure you pay back the bank loan, you decide to dedicate every dollar over the original $100/week in revenue the area provided to service the debt. Assuming, of course, people like to play pool more than darts.

So what’s not to like?

The Risks and Consequences of a CRL

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The bar metaphor is overly simplistic. In reality, the risks associated with CRL’s are far more complex and far more reaching than our theoretical bar owner.

A community development cycle can take 20+ years from start to finish. The city has to forecast out several decades to be sure there will be enough demand to justify a spate of new living and office space. New developments also face all kinds of barriers ranging from the obvious (the need to improve or increase local infrastructure) to the unforeseeable (NIMBY complaints from existing business and residents). 

So there’s real work and a lot guessing and prayers that has to be put in before a CRL can realistically be decided on.  

Beyond the logistical issues of developing a community, there’s also the risk that the redevelopment will fail to adequately improve property values to cover the loan. CRL’s can only legally exist for 20 years in Alberta, so a municipality only has a limited window to pay back the debt. Although mega-developments like the West Village always seem like a slam dunk in the initial conceptual phases, in reality they can fail to live up to those lofty dreams for all sorts of reasons. 

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A good example in Calgary is Eau Claire Market. In the mid-90’s, Eau Claire was redesigned to be a premier destination in the city’s downtown (an “entertainment retail centre” or ERC). The new area was briefly popular but mostly failed to live up to the dreams of being a new font of urban vitality. And that’s despite a premium location along the river and near Prince’s Island Park. 

As documented by Richard White, Eau Claire floundered for a variety of reasons: Chinook Centre was also re-designed around the same time and became the “mall of note” in Calgary and Stephen Avenue walkway was redeveloped into a destination for downtown diners. There’s probably a dozen others that aren’t altogether clear at this point.

Of course, even if the new community is designed perfectly and the city has enough demand capacity to justify the development, there’s an ongoing question of whether CRL’s are actually good for cities. Remember, over the life of the CRL, the incremental property tax from the area is used to pay back a loan and therefore doesn’t end up in city coffers. Depending on how the borders of the CRL are drawn, this can pose challenges for city administration in need of funds for essential things like roads, sewers and schools.

Finally, there is evidence that CRL’s definitely do improve the property values and development pace within a given area, but likely at the expense of other areas in the city. In studies recently cited by Jonathan Willis in this piece, it’s noted that:

Dye and Merriman studied TIF in Illinois and found that cities that adopted it “grow more slowly than those that do not” and that they only stimulate growth in a designated area “at the expense of the larger town.”

More extensively, from the study in question:

In summary, the empirical evidence suggests that TIF adoption has a real cost
for municipal growth rates. Municipalities that elect to adopt TIF stimulate the
growth of blighted areas at the expense of the larger town. We doubt that most
municipal decision-makers are aware of this tradeoff or that they would willingly
sacrifice significant municipal growth to create TIF districts. 

The theorized reason for a lower growth rate in cities that employ TIF’s (or CRL’s) is, basically, inefficient redistribution of public and private funds. A CRL concentrates tax revenue, development and political will within a given area, potentially sucking resources and demand from other areas of the city. As a result, much of the literature argues that CRL’s are more a method of reallocating government funds rather than effectively raising new ones. 

CalgaryNEXT Related Risks

All this is just generally applicable facts and considerations when it comes to CRL financing. The Flames’ proposed model comes with even more concerns than the average CRL scheme, however. 

Remember that the Flames group wants a $240 million CRL to go towards the building of the “arena district” (though the information isn’t clear on the CalgaryNEXT website just where the organization thinks the CRL tax dollars will go. For now, we’ll assume it’s more or less earmarked for new arena/”event centre”). 

That’s a huge amount of money going towards something that won’t generate property taxes (if owned by the city as proposed), meaning it won’t directly aid in repaying the CRL loan. Building a huge arena in a CRL designated area is like putting a giant money plug in the middle of the community. 

In addition, that’s $240 million that won’t go towards vital infrastructure development and soil remediation – the sort of things that have to happen if a new mixed use community is to spring up in West Village. 

The argument for so-called anchor developments like arenas is they drive demand in the area and foot traffic to local businesses. Remember, of course, that the economic effect of sports arenas in cities, like CRL’s, is mostly redistributive: it pushes existing money around, but it doesn’t tend to create new revenue. That’s why if you google “sports arenas economic impact” you get a lot of quotes like this one:

“If you ever had a consensus in economics, this would be it,” said Michael Leeds, a sports economist at Temple University. “There is no impact.”

To put the $240 million ask in perspective, consider that the total CRL investment for the East Village development has been about $357 million to date, total. That means the Flames want the city to commit 70% of the East Village budget to help build an arena complex alone (!) leaving aside everything that needs to be done to make the area livable. 


The Flames group frames the CRL as an easy win, but the truth is far more complex. There are risks and consequences associated with a CRL – and the Flames proposal in particular – that you won’t find on the CalgaryNEXT website.

One final note in all this: if the city of Calgary wanted to use a CRL to redevelop the West Village, they don’t really need to have the Flames organization involved. In fact, with the arena district soaking up so much real estate and development dollars (without the attendant benefit of property tax generation) it’s fair to argue the city would be better off pursuing a West Village project absent the Flames’ involvement altogether.  

  • Greg

    I sincerely hope facts win out in this argument. I fear with the low Canadian dollar it is only a matter of time before the Flames start playing the play-up-or-we’ll-be-forced-to-leave card.

    • AJ88

      They could threaten all they want, but they would be hard pressed to find a market as big as Calgary for a Hockey team. Are they going to move the Stamps also?

      The main problem I have with the funding model is that the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation are only willing to cough up $200 million towards THEIR arena.

      Sorry, but that’s not fair.

      If they were willing to cover the cost of the field house as well, for a 50/50 split.. then all of a sudden this is a different conversation.

  • Denscafon

    Ya, seeing how the NFL teams have used LA as a threat to relocate and that coming to fruition for 2 teams, I can see king and co using that soon if the city says no to calgary next, which I think they should anyways though. But I feel that threat won’t be as strong as pretty much most of the major owners of the flames live here in Calgary and have made their fortunes here as well so going somewhere like Quebec/Vegas/Seattle doesn’t seem to make sense unless they want to sell the team, which I highly doubt as well.

    • piscera.infada

      The part of the NFL relocation I find rich, is that they’re moving because they can’t get a stadium built in their area. So instead they’re paying $550 million to move to an area where the NFL has already failed twice.

      If the Flames want to use that to play hard ball, I say let them. I love the Flames, I love hockey, but emotional garbage like that isn’t going to get an arena built here. Short of moving to Quebec City (which could be off the table in a few months, if the executive committee opts for two-team expansion), I don’t see a truly optimal move for Flames ownership if they actually care about their brand.

  • Parallex

    Yeah, the CRL is the big issue with the CalgaryNEXT proposal. I mean there are lots of other issues (the creosote, the unfunded fieldhouse, competing against the east village redevelopment etc. etc.) but most of those legitimately fall under “well we’d want to take care of those sometime anyways”. So for those issues it’s less a question of “should” and more a question of “when”… but using the CRL in the suggested (by CS&E) manner is a complete non-starter.

    CS&E needs to take a significant (at least) part ownership stake in the project to make a CRL even just a viable option.

  • piscera.infada

    The logic of the CRL is broken in general (a bit of the “broken window fallacy” here). As Kent points out, it’s doubly so when being used to finance a new arena.

  • slapshot444

    Well written Kent.
    The CRL for East village, while it may work in the end, was a “cooked” plan as it includes the Bow Tower. They drew a lasso around the tower on the map and connected it to the east village to ensure the plan’s viability. So OK maybe thats what it took to get the East Village going. It was a part of Calgary that the last 3 mayors had tried to develop unsuccessfully. The west village is completely a different animal. Once the contaminated soil is cleared it could be developed at the drop of a hat as all city developers want to move west not east. So assured of easy development was city councils belief, that they bought this land for 36 million last summer
    In reality, I think they bought the land, knowing there were serious cost issues for remediation, to have a very large figure in the pie in the control of the west village development.
    In my mind the real issue becomes why is not CSEC not collaborating with the city for the new arena. Does not working together in a planning session get an end result. The confrontational approach has the Mayors back up and has been only made worse by Bettman publicly calling him out. It seems the strategy is to make a plan and hope public pressure will win it over. Am I wrong here? Is it just me or is the plan completely ass backwards to get a project of this size done? Perhaps there had been unproductive meetings already and this is the only way CSEG could think of to get it done, I’m not privy to that info. Could be CSEG owners have said 250 m is the limit they will kick in and KK is trying to make it work with what he has to work with?
    Most NHL cities, especially the large one seem to have an arena right smack downtown( Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, NY etc etc so obviously it can work traffic wise. An area out in the boonies has shown more often than not it doesn’t work well, note Ottawa is now looking to move.
    Perhaps the mega project is a great plan that is just too big for Calgary at this time with inadequate financing. Perhaps we just need to build a new area at a good location with public access. Perhaps CSEC just needs to keep it simple and kick in a bit more dough, AND work with the city and have an endorsement before announcing a plan to the public.
    I’m one of those who believe that public money should be used for large project where there is a public benefit. However there is something not quite right in how this has been executed. I’m hoping both parties see its time to re think and get this done.

    • Denscafon

      Ya, as someone who has directly benefited (we’ll see for how long though..) from a CRL as I live in East village, I would completely agree though that West village is a completely different animal. I don’t blame the city from purchasing the contaminated land as they had to do something soon as Creosote was found in West hillhurst so the contamination has spread across the river (and into it as well). The city was put in a rock and a hard place in that situation and purchasing the land to get some clean up going and/or to be able to develop the would be prime development land in the future seems a valid plan.

      CSEC throwing this out pretty much is trying to force the city’s hand in so many ways it’s almost comical.

      -They want the prime real estate that west village can be

      – they want the city/government to do the clean up for them and not contribute even though they will be the main beneficiaries financially, since they know something needs to be done relatively soon

      – They want to take the money for a would be 100% city run and publicly used field house and make it into a quasi football stadium/field house that has no promises of how often the public has access to

      – They want a CRL which should be used for developing a whole district for just 1 building that can’t help pay it back as it is “publicly” owned which is a bogus “plus” CSEC keeps saying it will be.

      The whole CalgaryNEXT proposal is just a straight up bully tactic instead of working with the city. If you want a new arena for the flames, then just build the arena only. 200 mill from the owners, 250 from the ticket tax. No need for CRL or money from the city. I’m a bit biased though as I have no interest in the stamps.

      • slapshot444

        Totally agree with you. ( except for my beloved Stamps) The CSEG has been on this for years. We were led to believe that they were acquiring property for the project, that directly from KK at one point. They have read the mayors office completely wrong unless there’s a side to the story behind the scenes we don’t know about. Perhaps the city should take the lead and decide where an aren could go with their blessing the lead the negotiations to get it done.

  • Parallex

    So Kent, if the Calgarynext project for the West Village is such a bad idea what do you propose? I agree that Flames ownership should pony up more money but the Flames and Stamps both do need new digs and the West Village creosote issue is a festering sore that the province and the city administrations have been dragging their feet on for decades. I think both a new arena and field house are definitely necessary but Murry Edwards and his buddies and their oil businesses are all hurting now too. What’s your solution, pray tell?

    • ClayBort

      Straw man argument. It’s not Kent’s job to fix the proposal, nor is he taking claim. However, we can all use the available information to objectively critique the project.

      If the Alberta economy continues to slide, I suspect we see the project shelved indefinitely or scaled way down. The city wants a field house, and King and the bunch want a new home for the Stampeders, but I doubt they are willing to have a project sink because they can’t find a solution for the Stampeders who account for a much smaller slice of the sports pie. It’d be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • piscera.infada

      My suggestion would be something my parents used to say to me when I was younger. “If you don’t want to spend your own money on it, how badly do you need it?”

      If the Flames and Stampeders desperately need new stadia to be commercially viable, the owners should probably look into more cost-effective methods of building them if the city wont fork over the amount of money they want (which the city shouldn’t). Flames and Stamps fans will flock to new stadia, just like they do to the old stadia, regardless of if they’re the “newest” or the “best”, or not.

    • Denscafon

      Murray Edwards and the his oil buddies aren’t the only ones hurting. The whole city is. So for them to ask for 450 mill in public money for a very profitable team is just ridiculous.

      There are so many more solutions that would most likely be alot cheaper.

      -Upgrade MacMahon stadium instead of building a completely new field/house stadium

      -find a location with no contamination such as rail town (right above stampede park) or fire park (just NE of downtown) and only build the hockey arena.

      West village should be cleaned up and redeveloped for sure, but the clean up alone could cost as much as the proposed CRL so MORE RESEARCH NEEDS TO BE DONE! Don’t rush in without knowing how much the whole project will cost.

  • ClayBort

    This opinion will be unpopular, and a tad off topic.

    The Management Group might have a better shot of the project not tying in the Stampeders at all. If they could get interest from a second tenant, perhaps an MLS team that is looking to move and willing to contribute to a project, maybe they can shrink the capital ask from the city and close the gap a little (in addition to other strategies others have mentioned).

    I like the CFL, and the Stampeders, but this feels like betting on a dying horse. It’s questionable whether the CFL exists long term. I really don’t like soccer, but it’s growing at an impressive rate, and given how expensive it is to have a kid in hockey, more kids are playing soccer in Canada than ever. I was surprised when Ken King completely wrote off the potential of an MLS team in Calgary.

    • Parallex

      I’m not sure a D1 soccer club is all that feasible atm. If someone wanted to bring pro-soccer to Calgary I imagine they might have to follow the example of Montreal… Start up a D2 team and once economic viability is established push for a D1 team.

      Of course even if you were to accomplish this I’d have one question… given home dates for the Stampeders, home dates for the Dino’s (I presume they wouldn’t continue on at McMahon), home dates for the soccer club, practice days for all three… when would this complex actually be a Fieldhouse? That would eat up the prime dates for amateur athletics.

      • ClayBort

        I think the argument would be to leave the Stamps at McMahon until the future of the CFL was on solid ground.

        The bigger surprise is how quickly it was written off as a possibility. Came across like “pfft, soccer”

    • Willi P

      Actually I think the best shot they have is to use the Stampeders in this. Most CFL stadiums have received civic and provincial funding and some have received federal funding. Canadian funding for a Canadian League. KK should be working this angle hard. Then the Flames need to step up and pay taxes on the building (since they want the city to own it) to justify the CRL AND kick in more cash. This is not the same as the Edmonton DT dumpsville situation and times have changed since that deal was done (not that type of deal would have ever happened in Calgary anyway).

  • MontanaMan

    I’m totally in favor of a new arena in the west village but not with the funding model that has been put out. The flames need to pony up a lot more and they have the resources to do so. What kills me is after all the bs from KK withholding the announcement for years….”before we propose this city changing project we want to have all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed”. Holy crap Ken you didn’t even have architectural drawings and you took 7 years to present what? All the flames need to do is pony up full costs for the project then ask for the land and they will get all the support and praise they could ever want. One more thing, this is Calgary not Edmonton, we should be proud to NOT go to the public for support. Just my opinion.

    • Brent G.

      Couldn’t agree more. I love the flames and watching their hockey but if they said they would leave without our tax $$, I’ll personally go help them pack.

      I’m amazed, and pleasantly surprised by the responses on here. This is a good representation of the strong supporters of the Flames, and no one is in to it. If we don’t want it, imagine those indifferent to the team. They have a tough battle ahead of them to get funding.

      Maybe that rat Bettman will be back to tell us how stupid we all are here again…

    • slapshot444

      And a good opinion at that. You hit the nail on head, 7 years of BS then student like drawings and Bettman as the cheerleader . You have to think there is more to the story than we know.

  • MontanaMan

    This is a balancing act for the city as well. If the Flames don’t build a complex in West Village, what project will move in? If a project doesn’t move in, how will the site be cleaned up? It’s a bit chicken/egg scenario. Confirm the project and we’ll clean up the site. No project? No clean up. But how long can the City wait to clean up a contaminated site? Regarding the comments “they’re billionaires – tell them to build their own building”; while it may be true, it’s not realistic. Billionaires never use their own money and always look for the best deal. Katz is a snake but got the deal he was looking for and the Flames will do the same. Thinking that the Flames ownership will pony up for the entire cost demonstrates a lack of business acumen.

    • Brent G.

      I respectfully disagree.

      Calgary is not Edmonton. I have confidence in our city managers they will not buy in to all of the empty promises of what an arena will provide that area. Looking at that deal Edmonton signed, I can’t imagine anyone thinking this was the right move now that the dust is settling.

      • AJ88

        Please get your facts right. I don’t think too many in Edmonton these days are saying this was the wrong move. The funding model at this time looks to be on target.

    • piscera.infada

      Confirm the project and we’ll clean up the site. No project? No clean up.

      In fairness, the argument is more of this: “confirm the project (and fork over the dollars), and you’ll clean up the site”. CSEC will argue that “without this project the area won’t be cleaned up”. That’s a red herring insofar as the city doesn’t require this particular project to be that catalyst. They clearly want it cleaned up, but perhaps a more cost-effective project that will benefit more Calgarians in necessary–perhaps, maybe, just a city owned and operated field-house (without any ties to CSEC).

      Regarding the comments “they’re billionaires – tell them to build their own building”; while it may be true, it’s not realistic. Billionaires never use their own money and always look for the best deal.[…] Thinking that the Flames ownership will pony up for the entire cost demonstrates a lack of business acumen.

      While probably true, and I can sympathize with the thought process, it still doesn’t make the funding, as currently proposed, cost effective or viable for the city of Calgary. If CSEC is willing to move on their funding position, then they’re going to have to move significantly. They are, in the infancy stages of the project, already losing the war of public opinion.

    • Parallex

      The Flames ownership needs to present a viable business plan to the city. Not “prestige!” a viable business plan that results in the city seeing a return on investment. King likes to toss around the P word on the project… Partnership… but it’s not a true partnership if both parties aren’t sharing the full cost and full reward.

      The Flames want the city to invest in the project… Ok, show me how I get all my money back directly from the project and we’ll talk.

      • MontanaMan

        I get that we’re speaking of taxpayers dollars but don’t forget that the same tax dollars go into art in the water treatment plant, that giant ring at the north end of the city and the new library, some of which you may or may not support. And your investment plan of “show me how I get all my money back from the project” is noble especially when we’re speaking of taxpayer dollars, but I personally haven’t gotten that guarantee from any investment I’ve ever made!

        • Parallex

          It’s not a guarentee. No investment is ever guarenteed… the stock market goes up and down, real estate prices flucuate… but you should be able to present a plan that says “If you invest “X” in our project here is how and when we believe you will see a return on your investment.

          I also respect that the public puts money towards things that 100% of the population doesn’t agree with but there is a limit to that. In my mind that limit is 200M, that’s the money that would go towards the public fieldhouse, I will likely never use the Fieldhouse but I respect that there are others who would. The rest of the project is pretty clearly just public money towards a private enterprise… which is fine… but I want a return on that.

  • MontanaMan

    I really feel like the Flames missed the boat on this one. A failing economy, low dollar, and thousands of people losing their jobs every week…it’s pretty difficult to convince people in this climate that a new arena is needed. John Oliver did a great segment on publicly funded stadiums, and they generally always follow the same formula: owners propose a new stadium, offer to pay for a very small portion, promise profits that never come to fruition, and threaten to relocate when things don’t go their way. I find this tactic of holding fans hostage just disgusting, and Flames ownership really needs to reevaluate their approach to this. As a fan, of course I want this, but as a citizen, it’s just not logical.

  • I wish CalgaryNext would simply scrap the field house and propose just a Flames arena so the total bill is smaller and has a better chance of being approved. If nothing happens within the next 25 years of course the Flames will have to relocate or fold.

    • ClayBort

      Kansas City. It’s a $58, 50 minute flight from where I live, and the barbecue is amazing. Betcha I could swing season’s tickets and a flight pass for a lot cheaper than they’d be in Calgary.

      GO SCOUTS!

  • slapshot444

    A few points/ counter-points that may be repetitive:

    CSEC thinks as an anchor tenant they can be part of a revitalization of the neighborhood and the city (taxpayer) should cover a substantial amount of the cost. Similar revitalization have taken place in other parts of the city. One with CRL (East Village), but most without (Quarry Park, Sundance, Garrison Woods/Green, etc).

    I repeat the example of Imperial Oil moving their HQ to Quarry Park, with 2,000+ employees. I don’t recall their request for assistance from the taxpayer for that development.

    Sports ownership may or may not be a profitable endeavor, but that’s part of the challenge for the owners. By all accounts the owners are great citizens and philanthropists, but that shouldn’t change the city’s approach to co-funding.

    The polluter needs to pay the creosote clean up, unless the city/province is on the hook for that from previous deals. The city can build or share in the build of the field house if that is an important asset for the city. The city needs to consider the secondary investments for probable upgrade of Crow/Bow interchange.

    The owners can make their own decision on the rest of the plan.

    Billionaires do make their own investments with their own money when they see a return. It looks like they don’t see a return here.

    • ClayBort

      Domtar Canada folded and there are no remaining corporate entities tied to the organization in Canada.

      Unfortunately due to corporate law, that leaves the AB and Cgy government with no one to go after. Even though Domtar exists elsewhere, the government has no jurisdiction where they can formally seek damages. Fun hey?

      • Actually Clay, I read somewhere recently that someone (son/newphew/daughter type deal) from the Domitar ownership is still alive and when they folded up they set aside a small amount of money in a bank account in case they ever had to pay for it. It sounds like could pay up to like 25-50% of the costs. the number up to 50million seems to be the number one article I recall wrote.

  • Lets face it, the Dome is like the real ugly sister of NHL that even a load of makeup won’t fix. It’s hard to believe that we will still be watching games their for another 5 to 8 years, I just can’t see it, and nor does Flames ownership. Why can’t they just build the arena first and leave the potential football stadium for future developments over time. I just don’t think the City is ready to jump into the Mega Sports Facility, as our population isn’t big enough to support a worldly structure. Just build the arena with bars and condos around it for now and leave a clause for the Flames to have first right for redevelopment of adjacent lands for the football stadium. And please fix the crowchild-memorial bridge, just blow it up and replace it before any shovel hits the ground for the new arena!

    Just my 2 tax dollar cents

  • Here’s my biggest problem with the whole thing.
    1. Flames have been pushing for years about a new arena redevelopment and I realize that adding the Stamps, and various set backs have altered their plans. Fair enough. That being said It’s been 3 years since they acquired the Stamps.
    I’d like to know what they’ve done in that time. The plans they presented are not how you go to an investor and say will you invest in my project. The city is the investor in this case. The plans should have represented this truly knock your socks off… city changing idea that Ken King been pushing for the last 3 years. The fact is it was like they had a highschool graphic design class do the renderings. If i was a private investor and they came to me with that I’d laugh them out of the board room.

    2. The plans are half baked if even that. There are so many things left unconsidered by the project. What about traffic flow, ingress and egress to West Village. That area is a nightmare as it is. Imagine having football game at 1 and Flames game at 7:30 on a Saturday. The area will be a nightmare and without moving bow trail you completely minimize prime realestate where people who would want to invest in building their businesses in the area would want to be.

    3. The idea that the Flames provide an anchor for the development and or by putting the project in motion they kick start the clean up is a bit of red herring as well. The West Village is a prime piece of land for real-estate. When the city is hurting and direly in need for mroe central real-estate some developer or businessman like a Trump style figure is gonna buy that land up and sell 2 million dollar penthouses and upscale condos on that land and make a lot of money off it.

    How does that happen you ask. It happens like this.
    Developer goes to city says. Give us the land for a good deal. We’ll pay for the land, and 50% of the clean up. You pay for the other 50% of cleanup and infrastructure upgrades in the area. We’ll build our project and sell them we keep the prophets and you get tenants who pay taxes.
    IT’s a win win.

    That’s how these deals get done. Not the way KK and CSEC are doing it.