Council approves funding half of new $550-million Calgary Flames arena

Jul 31 2019, 12:37 am

In a vote this afternoon, Calgary city council made a landmark decision by approving the municipal government’s financial contribution towards its new event centre — a new home for the Calgary Flames and a major new venue for indoor concerts and events.

Council voted 11-4 in support of last week’s established agreement with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) that would have the municipal government cover 50% of the $550-million cost of building the 19,000-seat venue. CSEC will be responsible for the other half of the construction cost.

While this is a public-private partnership, the municipal government will own the stadium, with CSEC covering 100% of the annual operating and maintenance costs of the 35-year agreement.

The city will receive a portion of ticket revenues of all events held at the arena and facility fee for the lifetime of the agreement, as well as a portion of a future sponsored naming rights deal.

Value will also be created for the city as a result of increased property tax revenue, while local amateur sports organizations will benefit from CSEC’s commitment to provide $75 million in added funding over the concession agreement.

Property taxes from the redevelopment projects within the Rivers District will be used to pay for the city’s contribution to the project.

If all goes as planned, construction could begin in 2021 for an opening as early as 2024.

The new event centre is one component of the municipal government’s multi-fold venue strategy for the emerging entertainment district in the East Village, which includes the expansion of the BMO Centre and the Arts Commons.

Today’s approval comes just days after the city eliminated over 100 positions to save $60 million.

With files from Rob Williams.