Done deal: contracts executed to build a new Calgary Flames arena

Ryan Pike
6 months ago
Good news, everybody! Remember back in April, when the City of Calgary, Calgary Stampede, Government of Alberta and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation announced plans to build a new event centre? Well, that agreement has now been formalized and contracts executed.
The Calgary Flames will be getting a new home in the coming years.
In addition to confirming the existing pieces of the deal that were previously announced in April, Thursday’s press conference at City Hall featured a few announcements regarding the project team involved in executing the project. (The executed contracts won’t be available for a few more weeks.)
CAA ICON was announced as the development manager for the project, and will oversee the whole endeavour. (CAA ICON were also the consultants that helped structure the finances of the deal.) HOK and Dialog are going to be the designers of the facility. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they designed the first iteration of the arena when it was just an arena and parkade smooshed onto a 7.2 acre site. They’ll be adapting that onto the larger 10 acre site, and incorporating the community rink and public plazas into that site. (It’s not expected that the arena design is going to change substantially.)
So what’s next? Well, utility work begins to facilitate the expansion of the original smaller site into the larger site, which includes moving utilities from below 5th Street elsewhere. (5th Street will be moved east and become 5A Street.) There’s a new development permitting process, but it’s being done by the same project team that submitted the first design to the City, so there’s some confidence that process could be faster than the earlier one was.
Construction is expected to begin in 2024. It’s unclear when and no specific dates were provided. If we’re thinking out loud, construction cannot begin until the permitting process has been completed, and it seems unlikely that it begins until after the 2024 edition of the Stampede. We’d place bets on July 2024 as when we start seeing full-tilt construction. We’ll likely see designs and renderings when the development process is fairly far along.
As far as when we can expect to see hockey games (and other events) at the new building, that depends. In the prior iteration of the project, the expectation was construction would take about three years (maybe a little less than that). At that speed, in theory we’d see the building open sometime between May and September of 2027. Is it possible they can get it done earlier? Sure. Most arenas take between two and three years to build, depending on various factors. We’re inclined to fall back on the prior three-year plan until told otherwise.
We’re pessimists, so we’re betting on 2027-28 being the first Flames season in the new building. But they could get it done earlier than that.
We’ll have more on the ongoing arena saga as it continues to unfold.
Get your tickets for the FlamesNation Season Home Opener party, and come hang out with us at Greta Bar while we watch the Flames take on the Winnipeg Jets in their season opener!

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