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Mayor sets arena deadline, Katz Group tours other markets
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Monday, September 24, 2012 6:50PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, September 24, 2012 7:23PM MDT
In Edmonton – the mayor is giving the downtown arena deal a hard deadline, while Katz Group officials were south of the border, looking at other potential NHL markets.
On Monday, CTV News spoke to Mayor Stephen Mandel, who has set a deadline for the city and the Katz Group to come to an agreement.
Mandel said the Katz Group has until October 17 to go to City Council, and if they don’t, officials may need to re-think the entire thing.
“I think everyone in the City of Edmonton, including the Katz Group, as well as councillors, we need to make some decisions,” Mandel said.
“We’ve been dealing for four years, it’s not a complicated issue of what you want, and we just need to know what it is.”
The deadline comes after the Katz Group turned down the city’s offer to appear before City Council, and clarify its stance on a new downtown arena.
Instead, the company released a statement saying it wants to cut down on the outstanding issues on the deal before going public.
Mandel said Monday that city administration had been approached, but he doesn’t know if either side is any closer to a final deal than they were a week ago.
“It doesn’t have to be Mr. Katz,” Mandel said, reiterating his invitation to the Katz Group to talk to city council. “Come to council at some point in time and say what they want and in my book [October] 17 is the [deadline], and it really can’t go any longer than that.”
Meanwhile, rumours that the Katz Group was in Seattle came to light late Monday afternoon – and not long after that, the Katz Group issued a statement confirming that Daryl Katz, Patrick LaForge, Kevin Lowe and others were in Seattle for meetings.
The statement said the company was still committed to working with the City of Edmonton, to reach a deal similar to other small NHL markets – and if such a deal is reached the Oilers will remain in Edmonton.
However, Executive Vice-President of the Katz Group Bob Black went on to say the company had been exploring their options for some time:
"Nonetheless, and as the City of Edmonton is aware, the Katz Group has been listening to proposals from a number of potential NHL markets for some time. After more than four years of trying to secure an arena deal and with less than 24 months remaining on the Oilers' lease at Rexall Place, this is only prudent and should come as no surprise."
The statement concluded by thanking Oilers fans, and saying no further comment would be issued on the company’s discussions with other markets.
The news came on the same day Seattle City Council voted to approve a $490 million arena, including $200 million in public money – meant to bring an NBA team back to the city.
With files from Brenna Rose & Kevin Armstrong