0

Calgary Arena History: the future

The Saddledome is a thousand years old. (Okay, actually 37 years.) But the city and the Calgary Flames are moving forward with plans for a new arena to house hockey and other events and gatherings.

The next big development that’s expected should happen very shortly. After a few months of interviews, the full design team for the new arena is expected to be announced in the next few weeks by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

The rumoured design team is a partnership between HOK and Dialog, reported by VenuesNow in late March. The report has neither been confirmed or denied by CMLC. At recent season ticket holder conference calls, Flames brass has joked that the architect isn’t a well-kept secret at this point.

The two logical major contenders for the project were likely HOK (who have a local office, while Dialog is a local firm) and Populous (who are designing the BMO Centre expansion). HOK and Populous have worked on most of the major new arenas lately. Populous is currently at work on the Seattle Center Arena and Belmont Park Arena, and they did T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. HOK has recently worked on Rogers Place and Little Caesars Arena.

The new arena was approved last summer by city council. The full design team is expected to be unveiled in early June, with a high level schematic of the sign unveiled in the fall and detailed renders early in 2021. The ground-breaking is set for July or August 2021, with the building opening in May 2024.

And yes, it continues a nearly 100 year Calgary tradition of building a new arena basically across the street from the previous one. The space for the new arena is a block and a half north of the Saddledome, separated from the ‘Dome by a parking lot and the Stampede Corral by two parking lots.