Calgary Flames owners unplug arena

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Escalating costs on several fronts and a stalemate between CSEC and the city cited as reasons for ending plans to replace the Saddledome

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Calgary Flames owners say they are ending a multi-million dollar plan to replace the aging Saddledome.

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Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. said the rising price of its planned new arena, which was to be built under a cost-sharing agreement with the city of Calgary, led the owners to conclude “there is no way viable to complete the event. Center project.

“At this point, it is clear that the City and the BBRI have been unable to resolve a number of issues related to the escalating costs of the project,” said in a statement released Tuesday evening.

One such problem is millions of additional costs identified by the city for infrastructure and climate change mitigation, the owner of Flames said, with CSEC being asked to cover $ 10 million.

Separately, the overall cost of the project has increased by $ 25.5 million since the approval of its budget of $ 608.5 million in July 2021, the CSEC said.

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The company also noted a “high level of risk associated with future increases in project costs” due to the impact of COVID-19, including supply chain issues and rising commodity prices. .

Mayor Jyoti Gondek first broke the news Tuesday night, writing on social media that she spoke with Calgary Flames majority owner Murray Edwards, who told her CSEC intended to “unplug” the agreement.

“I wanted Calgarians to be the first to know,” Gondek wrote. “I am as disappointed as all of you that this is how this ended.”

The BBRI also expressed its disappointment with the result of its event center project.

“While not ideal for Calgarians or competitive for the Flames, Calgarians should understand that CSEC’s intentions are nonetheless to stay in the Scotiabank Saddledome,” the owners of the Flames said in their statement.

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  1. The site of the future new Stampede Park arena was photographed on Monday, July 26, 2021.

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Plans for the new building had already been finalized and a development permit – one of the last steps before starting construction – was approved last month.

But there are a series of conditions that must be met before the development permit can be issued. Gondek said just under $ 10 million in additional costs related to road works, public realm improvements and climate change mitigation that are a necessary part of this process have become an insurmountable hurdle.

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“(Edwards) has done his best to keep his partners moving forward with the event center deal,” Gondek told reporters Tuesday night.

“There was additional funding that had to be taken by Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. It seems that they are not in a position to make this financial commitment, following the approval of their development permit. So it would appear that they are terminating the deal.

The city and CSEC initially signed an agreement in 2019 to share the $ 550 million cost of building the new event center, as the city calls the facility, in East Victoria Park. Public money would also cover the costs of demolishing the Saddledome, while the CBSC was also given options to acquire two valuable plots of land owned by the neighboring town.

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The deal changed earlier this year after “budget problems” put construction progress on hold for several months. Ultimately, the agreement’s cost overrun provision was activated, allowing the city and the CBSC to both commit an additional $ 12.5 million.

City-owned Calgary Municipal Land Corp. was removed from their role as manager of project development so that the Flames homeowner group could hire someone they chose, and they agreed to take on any further overruns. cost for the new building.

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Council heard over the summer of cost estimates for the event center of approximately $ 608.5 million.

That amount has since risen to $ 634 million, according to the BBRI statement on Tuesday, not including additional funds for infrastructure and climate change mitigation identified in the city’s authorization process.

Gondek said it “appears” that CSEC would like the city to help cover the additional costs that have been identified.

“I have to tell you that the agreement reached in July of this year indicated that the additional costs would be borne by Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. So, according to this contract, the city cannot come back with additional funding. “

She said the city has tried to make sure it pays for all road works that are strictly its responsibility.

The mayor said she was “quite surprised” by the latest turn of events and couldn’t say what might happen next. She added that the city will have to “unpack” all the legal implications.

“I know our administration is also incredibly dedicated to this project,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the brakes were put on.”

[email protected]
Twitter: @meksmith

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