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Calgary Flames president Ken King says city arena proposal won't work
Published Friday, September 15, 2017 10:35AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, September 15, 2017 6:29PM MDT
Hours after the city released its vision for a new downtown arena for the Calgary Flames, team president and CEO Ken King responded by saying there is nothing in it that would work for them.
On Friday morning, council released details of the city’s proposal for the new building in Victoria Park that would cost $555M to build and be funded in equal portions of $185M by the city, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) and through a ticket tax.
Nenshi said that the time was ripe for the public to see the details of the deal.
“Given recent partial reports of the proposal and that CSEC has said it has left the table, we believe that it is important to share this proposal with all Calgarians now.”
Later on Friday morning, Ken King told the media at the Saddledome that he was glad that the city released the details of their position, but said the ownership group has a different interpretation.
"Their proposal has us not only paying for anything, but more when you consider incremental taxes."
He said that every third in the deal, the Flames' contribution, the user fees and the city's portion that council looking to have paid back, will all come from revenue generated by the team.
King added that the city's proposal now focuses on a location in Victoria Park and that's where the team is focusing its proposal now after the demise of CalgaryNEXT earlier this year.
"Our choice of a legacy project was CalgaryNEXT in West Village. Half the people in this city still think that's what we're talking about. We're not, we're talking about Victoria Park now."
He said the concept was attacked and ridiculed despite being 'brilliant and very, very complicated.'
"We never really had chance to see if it could have worked," King said.
He added that, going forwards, every detail of the process will be crystal clear, including their intents.
"We are not trying to convince City Hall of anything; that clearly has failed," King said. "It's better for the public to know that the five men and their families that have built this city, that employ tens of thousands of people, that provided hundreds of millions in philanthropy and in spite of no good financial sense, have and will strive as a beneficial and valuable part of our culture.
"This is no money grab. If it was, we'd be long gone. There's lots of places to make a lot of money in sports other than here."
Talks over a new hockey arena in downtown Calgary broke down this week when King said he was no longer pursuing a deal for a new arena.
King said it didn’t look like the deal was progressing and the two parties had a ‘different idea of what’s fair’.
The city’s deal also includes:
- land valued at $30M
- interim maintenance and eventual demolition of the Saddledome valued at $25M
- $130M contribution from non-property tax sources
- facilitating development of adjacent land by CSEC
In addition to its share of the arena itself, the city would pay all the costs associated with building infrastructure to support the building and develop Victoria Park, estimated at $150M.
The city would also pay for utility upgrades and the Green Line LRT station.
The city says that CSEC would own the arena and be responsible for paying the ongoing property taxes on the building and land.
Nenshi says, as he did earlier this week, that the city remains open to negotiation over the new arena.
“The City has not left the table and is prepared to continue negotiations. I’m very pleased that we are also sharing this with citizens, and I look forward to hearing feedback that I hope will also support future negotiations.
"We are happy to continue having those conversations and we think that what is before Calgarians is something that Calgarians will see as fair and reasonable. If anything, some will say the city is giving away too much. But that said, these are the kind of trade offs we have to make, as city council and as people who are guardians of the public purse."
King, meanwhile, said that the Flames arena proposal will be released sometime next week.
"You're going to see them next week. No secrets."