Calgary looking at “all viable options” for location of new Flames arena

Feb 7 2023, 5:18 pm

A new arena for the Calgary Flames might not end up so close to their current residence.

The events centre committee is looking at “all viable options” within Calgary’s downtown, committee chair Coun. Sonya Sharp told reporters Monday after the group met for the first time in 2023.

The previous events centre deal, which fell apart over a year ago, placed the new arena just a hundred metres north of the Saddledome — the current home for the Flames.

“When you go back to the conversation we had in the fall, we talked about this being a fresh start, so this is a fresh start,” Sharp said. “We’re looking at building an event centre within the city, within downtown, and all possible options will be presented.”

The previous deal, a $550 million agreement that jumped to $634 million between the city and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) — the owner of the Flames — collapsed because of discord over cost overruns. It was to be built around Stampede grounds.

CSEC had initially proposed CalgaryNEXT, a mega-events centre and field house facility to home the Flames and Calgary Stampeders, in West Village in 2015 with a price tag of $1.8 billion.

New arena talks commenced last October, with the city represented in discussions by CAA ICON, who have structured agreements for major sports and entertainment venues throughout North America and Europe on behalf of both municipalities and sports teams.

The Flames have over a decade remaining on their lease on the Saddledome, the second-oldest facility in the NHL. Madison Square Garden is technically older but did undergo an extensive $1 billion renovation from 2011-2013.

There is no set timeline for a new events centre to be completed, but Sharp said the city wants to be “as aggressive as we can” in resolving the matter.

“We do know that because time is of the essence, we’re also working with cost escalations,” Sharp said. “We know with projects, the sooner they happen the better when it comes to time and money.”

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