City of Edmonton officials looking at arena options
Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 6:40PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:00PM MDT
Two weeks after city councillors voted to end ongoing negotiations with the Katz Group on a new downtown arena – officials are reviewing possible options, including the city building the arena on its own.
On October 17, councillors voted in favour of ending negotiations with the Oilers owner.
Now, city officials that had been part of talks with the Katz Group are working on a new task.
City Manager Simon Farbrother said while planners are looking at other ways of getting an arena built, they aren’t starting from scratch.
“This is about, ‘Is there some tweaks or design opportunities that allow us to get either a different or better product?’” Farbrother said.
Farbrother said designs, and land purchases are already in place.
Among the options being reviewed for the arena, is the city building the arena itself.
“Right now, our citizens are saying, build it ourselves, and we can talk to Katz about tenancy,” Councillor Kim Krushell said.
In addition, Northlands, the not-for-profit organization behind Rexall Place, would like to be involved.
Northlands was taken out of the downtown arena deal a year ago by the Katz Group.
“The Oilers are a community treasure,” Northlands President and CEO Richard Anderson said. “They should be here forever.
“Northlands certainly wants to be a part of making that happen.”
Regardless of what the city decides for the next steps on the project, councillors are skeptical goals met under the previous framework agreement will be met.
Previously, construction was set to start in early 2013, with the Oilers playing on the fresh ice in 2015.
“Well, unless somebody builds things faster than we historically and characteristically build things in this city,” Councillor Ben Henderson said. “I don’t see how at this point.”
Meanwhile, Northlands said the Oilers are welcome to keep playing at Rexall Place.
City council is expected to receive a report on their options to build a new arena in December.
With files from Bill Fortier