Northlands has unveiled “Northlands Vision 2020”, a future plan for the current site including the redevelopment of Rexall Place.  

Northlands said the plan involves three major projects.

The first is the proposed renovation of Rexall Place into the Northlands Ice Coliseum, an athletic complex with seven sheets of ice across two levels, with the ability to be converted to host other indoor sports such as volleyball, lacrosse, curling and indoor soccer. Northlands CEO Tim Reid said it’s expected to be complete by 2020 and could cost in the range of $85 million.

The second is the proposed conversion of the current Northlands Park Racetrack & Casino into an Urban Festival Site – a multi-use public park with the ability to host large-scale festivals and outdoor concerts of 30,000 to 140,000 people. Reid said it could cost in the range of $45 million to convert.

Northlands also announced that 2016 would be the final season of horse racing as a result of the conversion. It has been a venue for horse racing since 1900. A statement from Horse Racing Alberta thanked Northlands for its role in the development of horse racing but also showed disappointment.

“Obviously we are disappointed in their decision to leave racing at Northlands Park, they have been a strong partner over many years. However, we respect their decision and wish them well in their new endeavors. We will work with Northlands Park as they transition out of racing to minimize the impact on our industry.”

Horse Racing Alberta said they will explore options for a new track in the Edmonton area.

The third is the proposed renovation of Hall D into a 5,000 seat venue for professional lacrosse, rodeo events, minor hockey tournament championships and mid-size concerts that need a venue of this size. Reid said the renovation could cost in the range of $35 million. When it comes to the Canadian Finals Rodeo, Reid said 2016 is the last year for CFR at Rexall Place. He said negotiations are ongoing to keep it at Northlands but the rodeo could also move to Rogers Place.

CEO Tim Reid said the plan is a result of Northlands having to adapt to being taken out of the “big arena game.”

“Northlands’ realities have changed and we needed to find new ways to serve our community, as we have for over 137 years,” said Reid. “We listened closely to what our city needed and what we could realistically provide – Vision 2020 is the result.”

Mayor Don Iveson said he’s intrigued by the plan and he’s eager to hear feedback.

“I congratulate Northlands on their bold new vision to repurpose their existing facilities,” said Mayor Iveson. “My Council colleagues and I are looking forward to hearing more details and listening to what Edmontonians think of the Northlands proposal.”

A survey for Edmontonians to weigh in can be found online. You can also view concept art and designs in Hall H of the Edmonton Expo Centre seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith and Nicole Weisberg