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A Calgary arena deal facilitator has been appointed (but their identity is a secret for now)

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
On Monday, Calgary city council’s event centre committee had their first meeting to work towards a new arena deal to replace the prior arena deal. (You remember, the one that was dissolved at the end of December because the city and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, the Calgary Flames’ owners, couldn’t agree on a finalized budget for construction. Of course you remember, it was a whole thing.)
Stemming from that meeting, we have good news and bad news: the third party deal facilitator (the “deal-hunter”) has been selected, but the city can’t tell us who it is quite yet because their agreements have yet be finalized.
In January, council unanimously voted to do two things: to put the event centre committee back together, and to have administration appoint a third party to reach out to CSEC and other possible funding partners for possible deals.
Monday’s meeting was the first time the new committee met – it features three council members and representatives from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Calgary Economic Development – and they set a meeting schedule (once a month), voted on a chair and vice-chair, and had an update from the city’s legal department. That was about it.
Administration confirmed on Tuesday via a statement to Postmedia’s Jason Herring that the third party is in place and preliminary legwork is underway, but their name won’t be publicly disclosed until all the appropriate agreements and paperwork for their role is squared away. They’re being on-boarded, but they’re not fully on-board yet: think of it like how the Flames cannot talk publicly about signing a particular player until the deal is filed with the league, even if it’s been agreed to.
In a statement, Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek expressed disappointment that more public information isn’t available three months after council’s vote:
In January, Council directed Administration to appoint a third party to bring all parties to the table. I am concerned we have yet to receive a public update on action taken. Council has since reconstituted the event centre committee as this file remains a priority for all of Council. We are now waiting for administration to match Council’s progress on this file.
Broadly-speaking, here’s roughly how everybody hopes this process will work:
  • The third party deal facilitator will chat with CSEC and other interested groups regarding possible deals.
  • The third party will bring potential deal(s) to the event centre committee for their assessment.
  • If a deal is found to be acceptable by the committee, it will be presented to city council.
  • For a deal to go forward, city council will need to approve it.
As you can see, the facilitator is a pretty big cornerstone of the whole process. The next committee meeting is scheduled for May 4, and hopefully by that point we’re able to find out that individual’s identity and chat a bit more about their role in finding a deal for a new home building for the Flames.

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