The Calgary Flames on Tuesday moved another step closer to getting a new arena.
The Calgary City Council cast an affirmative vote on the agreement previously reached by the city, the Flames and Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. "for the development and construction of a new public sports and entertainment event center."
"We could not be more thrilled," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "This is a great day for Calgary, the Flames and hockey. We look forward to launching an exciting future for this wonderful team in its new home and are grateful to the citizens of Calgary, the City Council and Mayor [Naheed] Nenshi."
The proposed arena, with a capacity of up to 19,000, would cost an estimated $550 million Canadian ($419 million U.S.). Construction would begin in 2021 and take approximately three years to complete.
"Thank you to the Events Centre Assessment Committee for their hard work along with the City, The Stampede, and [Calgary Municipal Land Corp.] in reaching this agreement," said Ken King, vice chairman of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (CSEC), which owns the Flames. "As an organization, and on behalf of our ownership group, we are proud to call this city home, and pleased to be investing in a district that will embody Calgary's energy and sense of community. We would also like to add our thanks to City Manager Glenda Cole, CMLC's Michael Brown, volunteer Barry Munro, the Mayor and City Council for their important role in the process."
The project cost would be shared 50-50 by the city and the Flames, with the city getting 100 percent ownership of the arena.
The partners now will attempt to finalize legal agreements and coordinate public engagement on design and use of the surrounding area.
"For years, I've been saying any investment of public money must have public benefit. This deal does that," Mayor Nenshi said. "It's a fair deal. I'm pleased that it will allow us to move forward on the important work of city building, especially in East Victoria Park. Given their success in building and designing the East Village, I'm looking forward to the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation's design, engagement and community integration on this project."
Scotiabank Saddledome has been the Flames' home since it opened in 1983 and is the second-oldest arena in the NHL. Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers, opened in 1968, but a $1 billion renovation was completed in 2013.
The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League and the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League, each owned by CSEC, also would play at the proposed arena, which would be located just north of the Saddledome on land owned by the Stampede.