|Oilers President & CEO Patrick LaForge addresses the media during a press conference concerning Edmonton's proposed new downtown arena on August 31, 2009. (Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club) |
The Katz Group today provided an update on its plans to develop a new downtown entertainment and sports district, and appointed Patrick LaForge as its principal point of contact for the community and media.
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"Like a lot of Edmontonians, we are very excited about the prospect of a revitalized downtown and a new multi-use development that can make Edmonton the place to be, but we still have a lot of work ahead to make this vision a reality,” said Daryl Katz, Chairman of the Katz Group and owner of the Edmonton Oilers. “In the meantime, we want the public to know where things stand and what they can expect to hear in the months ahead and I can’t think of a better person than Patrick to take that on.”
Patrick LaForge is President of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club and a member of the Katz Group team working on the development project. Among his many community roles, he is a member of the Board of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, past Chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of the Mayor’s Leadership Committee for a New Sports/Entertainment Facility for Edmonton.
“I have spent much of my life working in and for the benefit of the City of Edmonton and I am eager to take on this role,” said Mr. LaForge. “The Leadership Committee report said it best: ‘The greatest opportunity for Edmonton lies in developing a new facility that will revitalize our downtown and add to the excitement that is just starting to build in our core’. I believe that. I believe Edmonton has a great future, and I know Daryl Katz believes that too.”
Patrick LaForge continued by stating, “To date, the Katz Group has done an extensive amount of planning, has consulted with the City, Province, Northlands and a wide range of other stakeholders and has secured land downtown at one of the potential development sites.”
Specifically, The Katz Group confirmed it has reached agreements to purchase two parcels of land in downtown Edmonton: the Baccarat Casino site and the block West of the Bell Tower and South of 104th Avenue. These lands are among others under consideration for the proposed development; no final decisions have been made.
“In the months ahead, we hope to select a suitable site, develop a master plan for the development’s various components, choose a lead architect for the project, settle on an operating and financial framework, launch a project website, and bring a well-considered plan before City Council,” said Mr. LaForge. “At the end of the day, we envision a vibrant downtown with new housing, retail, office and public space, hotels, residential housing and other amenities, all anchored by a world-class entertainment and sports venue. We envision a neighbourhood that is well-integrated with public transit, livable, walkable, environmentally responsible and a benefit to downtown, surrounding communities and all of Northern Alberta.”
“Needless to say, this is a very ambitious agenda and it will take time to pull it all together,” added Mr. LaForge. “We recognize this project is really all about the kind of future Edmonton wants to have, so we fully expect – and welcome – a healthy public dialogue, but until we are further along there is little more we can say, other than ‘stay tuned’.”
A copy of the Leadership Committee’s report and other material related to a new downtown arena district is available on the City’s website at: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_organization/new-sports-entertainment-facil.aspx.
Daryl Katz, Founder and Chairman of the Katz Group, has pledged to contribute his time, energy and on the order of $100 million towards the development of a new downtown arena.About Katz Group
Founded by Daryl Katz in 1990 and headquartered in Edmonton, The Katz Group is one of North America’s leading drug store operators with over 1,800 stores in Canada and the United states. Through its Rexall brand, The Katz Group is the largest corporate sponsor of the Edmonton Oilers.