Just after 10 p.m. MT on Monday night, hours after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final concluded, Calgary’s city council emerged from a closed-door meeting with a few minor updates on the status of the future home of the Calgary Flames.
The biggest news: while the design and budget hasn’t been finalized yet, the current cost estimates for the facility are roughly $50 to 60 million over the initial cost estimate of $550 million.
The other main nugget of new information was confirmation that the secondary practice facility at this point likely won’t be constructed. It wasn’t included in the agreements between the Flames and the city, but was mentioned within the agreements as a “if there’s money left, let’s build this, too” add-on. Well, there won’t be money left, so the Flames will likely continue to shuttle off to Winsport for practices on dates where the arena is booked up with concerts or other events.
Stuart Dalgleish, general manager of planning and development for the city, noted that the needs of the various partners were the factor driving up the cost but didn’t really provide much in the way of concrete details. The design and budget are still in the process of being locked down as the primary designers, HOK and Dialog, work with the Flames and the city to nail down what’s included and what’s not.
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There have been no additional financial asks of the city as of yet. Since the initial agreement was ratified by a council vote, a reconsideration vote to alter the agreement would require a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority – based on the current political and economic climate, adding public funds to the existing agreement likely wouldn’t pass a council vote.
The remainder of the debate regarding the arena deal involved heated back-and-forth between the three council members – Ward 3’s Jyoti Gondek, Ward 6’s Jeff Davison and Ward 11’s Jeromy Farkas – who are running to replace Naheed Nenshi as mayor in October’s election regarding the deal, confidentiality, and perceived misrepresentations of the deal’s terms.
The arena deal returns to city council on July 26.