The City's report on the CRL is very encouraging and supports our long-held view that this project can deliver significant benefits to the entire City for many years to come. Last October, City Council passed a resolution requiring the Katz Group to invest $30 million in the private sector development before construction could begin on the arena. We have already far exceeded that amount and have developed detailed plans for a very exciting mixed-used development in the heart of the city. In order to proceed, however, we need to secure an anchor tenant for an office tower and reach agreement on an arena design and budget, among other things, that will support the level of investment we hope to make in downtown Edmonton.
With respect to the arena itself, we are very pleased by the public's strong continuing support for the design and master plan, and remain optimistic that we can achieve further reductions to the current estimated cost of construction. The obvious challenge is to find a way to do that without sacrificing the integrity of the arena design, or the revenue streams we need to sustain our investment.
We have told Administration that while some of the ideas it has proposed have merit, others do not. This is not an easy problem, and is further complicated by the fact that the community rink, Winter Garden over 104th Avenue, and related commercial areas are integral to the arena’s structure and design. We are also concerned about rising construction costs if the project is delayed.
We remain committed to working with City Administration, PCL, ICON and 360 to achieve a great result for Edmonton. However, a number of significant issues remain unresolved. This initiative can only proceed if the project as a whole makes sense and is fair and acceptable to all parties.
-- Bob Black, Executive Vice President, Edmonton Arena Corp/Katz Group