44Saddledome view
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

We have a (tentative) arena deal: agreement on ‘fundamental terms and conditions’ reached

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an agreement on a new home for the Calgary Flames. The Flames, Calgary Stampede and City of Calgary announced an agreement on “fundamental terms and conditions” at a press conference at City Hall on Monday night.

Discussions between the Flames, the Stampede and the City have been going on in various forms since 2013, with the previous rounds of chats regarding the CalgaryNEXT proposal hitting the ditch in early 2016 and a previous incarnation of a building in Victoria Park screeching to a halt in summer 2017.

But talks reignited with the creation of the Event Centre Assessment Committee in late 2018, leading to formal talks picking up speed in early 2019.

The agreement sees both the Flames and the city contribute $275M to the project. The city’s portion will be funded from a mixture of city reserves and leftover funding from prior infrastructure projects.. The key caveat is that the city will own the new building, with CSEC leasing it for 35 years and assuming all operations costs. Additional costs include $3M in land costs and $12.4M for demolishing the Saddledome. They will also not relocate during the 35 year lease.

The arena appears to be located just a little bit north of the Saddledome, occupying a stretch of land along Olympic Way SE between 12th Avenue to 14th Avenue. It will reportedly hold up to 19,000 seats, and may include a “second smaller arena,” according to the graphic put out by the city. No designs have been revealed just yet, but construction should begin in 2021.

A larger size of that chart is available here.

The deal is not official yet, but can be made official at next Monday’s council meeting.

      • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

        On the surface it looks like the City did a decent job, as they have a chance to recoup their investment through ongoing revenue streams going back to the City via Incremental Rivers Property Tax, Share of Naming Rights, Street Facing Retail Property Taxes, Faculty Fee, etc. Obviously once all of the information is out we’ll see, but on the surface I’m happy with it.

        I also have to say I like the architectural renderings of what the Calgary Event Centre will look like. To be honest, I never liked the look of Calgary Next stadium, so this is a win all around for me so far.

      • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

        “The almighty stampede board got involved”

        100%. There was something fishy going on between those two sides for awhile, something happened there that brought the sides back together and that’s why the city is fine with it now, as the Stampede basically runs the show in this city.

    • Derzie

      Neither of those things generate revenue so they will not happen. The decision makers are all about money. I hope they do make the experience better but history has shown that the number crunchers don’t let it happen.

      • Avalain

        If they make the experience better then people are more willing to pay higher costs. There’s a reason why theatres have been working on better experiences. I mean, at the very least cup holders will help people be more willing to buy drinks. Plus, who wants to have their customers holding back on the beer because the bathroom line is too long?

  • BendingCorners

    Somehow I don’t see Murray Edwards writing a cheque for 275MM. More likely the City is issuing a bond for the full amount and CSEC is paying their share over the life of the arena from future increases in revenue streams. Depending on how the agreement is worded, CSEC may not even be obligated to pay their share if revenue is less than projected or operating cots are higher than projected.
    It’s also my guess than “no new property taxes” means only that the stadium fees and the additional taxes from “street-facing retail” and “incremental Rivers district property taxes” are in effect fully allocated to the bond the City will need to issue. The other “benefits to Calgarians” look like things that already happen today, for example via the Flames 50/50 charity, so should be attributed to the new arena.
    Sorry to rain on the celebration, I’m sure the new building will be nice and we may all end up happier because of it, but one way or another – taxes, seat prices, food and parking prices, etc., Calgarians are paying for the building and CSEC is collecting additional profit. Which is totally fine, as long as people acknowledge this up front. Unfortunately the parties involved are not keen on that (they may think we don’t want to fork over that kind of money) so we have another Emerald City magic show.

  • MontanaMan

    I’m sure those screaming for a public debate and vote on the event centre shared the same opinions for the new library, the airport tunnel, the bike lanes, and the art budget.

  • slapshot444

    As a fan you gotta love it,, finally,, I’m going to lie low on all the BS that will fly around as every one twitters themselves to death with pros and cons. Kudos to King and Nenshi for backing off and letting this get done. Here’s to the upper deck having one continuous ring of urinals so u never ever have to wait.

    • oilcanboyd

      A continuous ring of urinals to douse the Ring of Fire? Sorry, I couldn’t resist! In Edmonton there was a net increase in urinals above the Coliseum but they upped the number for Tier One attendees and actuall reduced the number for Tier Two fans..

      • slapshot444

        Ken King take note. The more step you climb the more places to pee. And while you’re at it craft beer up top, no one of importance at Inbev will notice.

    • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

      Considering the Flames will draw 779,000 people a year (41 Games x 19,000 per game), over 35 years you’re looking at 27,265,000 people entering the gates just for Flames games during that tenure. So $155,000,000 / $27,265,000 would work out to about $5.68 a ticket. This doesn’t include things like concerts though, maybe that would lower the cost per ticket.

  • Ted

    So let me get this straight with the few bucks saved on the Neal debacle the arena is getting approved? Oh and Turtle is playing with new Leadass. Why is Turtle on the fourth line now?

      • Flamesfever

        I don’t think is a good news. Be prepare to pay your property tax gone up crazy. Why do we have to support business people. Not fair, when you went to the game, and they charge you the price of concessions arm in a leg. Rip off.

        • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

          If you don’t like it then don’t go…. It looks like the City of Calgary will have multiple revenue streams to payback their initial investment from that chart attached in the article above. I’m fine with the City paying half of their investment is returned, which is appears it will be.

        • MontanaMan

          Flamesfever – maybe you could enlighten us on how much Edmonton property taxes went up after the new arena was built. Comments like “your property tax gone up crazy” are not factual.

    • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

      Yeah, no reason to keep it open considering it can’t host any concerts and ongoing maintenance alone so not worth it. I think this was a big reason for it getting this deal done. When the Stampede came back on board things started moving again, I think once the Saddledome is demolished that land will go back to the Stampede and with the Event Centre going nearby this was likely from land negotiated between the City and the Stampede, which eased the cost for the City, rather than them having to give the Flames other prime land elsewhere in Vic Park they made a favourable deal with the Stampede again that worked for all three parties.