Road and utility prep work for Calgary arena construction begins next month

Ryan Pike
4 months ago
Folks, I’ve written the mailbag column here at FlamesNation for so long that I can’t remember when I started writing it. But the most common question I’ve received in my time is some variation of “Hey Ryan, when the heck are they going to actually start construction work on the arena?
Until recently, my answer when asked has been a befuddled shrug (or the written equivalent). When the new incarnation of the arena deal finally was cemented late last year, the answer changed to “sometime in 2024.” Our new answer, at least in terms of road and utility work to prep the arena site, is “next month.”
Saturday’s game between the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks will be potentially the final home date for the Saddledome’s primary tenant before things start getting a bit construction-y in the Stampede Park area. (And things won’t get really messy in terms of construction impacts until the mid-to-late summer.)
Here’s the latest scuttlebutt, courtesy of our friends at the City and a few other sources here and there.
So, the land parcelled out for the 2019-21 arena deal was about 7.2 acres – bounded by Stampede Trail on the west, 12th Avenue on the north, 5th Street on the east and 14th Avenue on the south. The new parcel is 10 acres, with the new eastern boundary being a new street, 5A Street, that doesn’t exist yet. So the first thing that needs to be done is building that new street (and moving utilities from underneath 5th Street to underneath 5A Street so that they’re accessible and not stuck under a building).
According to the City, that process begins on the week of Feb. 5 – the Monday after the All-Star break. Underground utility work will be conducted on 14th Avenue, on the northeast side of the Saddledome to the east of 5th Street, for about four weeks. 5A Street will be built and opened and then 5th Street will be closed (and full-on construction will begin), with the City’s website projecting the process to take “approximately six months.” (It’s unclear if the four weeks of work on 14th Avenue is part of that six months, or if the six months begins after that.)
If you’re doing the math, these timelines fall more or less in line with what we’ve been led to expect throughout this process: a lot of prep work being done behind the scenes prep, road and utility work over the first six or seven months of 2024, with actual, honest-to-goodness construction on the arena complex itself beginning after the Stampede. (We should see detailed designs when the development permit application is submitted in a few months, but early mock-ups and rough renderings could be available in the first few months of this year as they prepare that application.)
Construction on the new home of the Flames (and Hitmen, Roughnecks and Wranglers) is expected to take a little less than three years, with building handover sometime between May and August 2027 and the facility being open full-tilt in time for the start of the 2027-28 National Hockey League season.
We’ve been hearing about a new home for the Flames for decades, dating back to the first public mention of it by the late Ken King way back in 2005. With prep work about to begin and shovels hitting the ground this summer, this lengthy process is finally almost over.

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