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LaForge provides update on Downtown Arena

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON - As part of an exclusive luncheon Monday at the Chateau Louis Convention Center, Oilers Season Seat Holders were given an exclusive update on the new Downtown Arena.

According to President & COO Patrick LaForge, progress is ongoing and everything is right on schedule.

City Council approved the Arena on May 15. The development will include a new home for the Edmonton Oilers and Oil Kings, a winter garden, community rink, LRT connection and pedestrian corridor, all of which are designed to revitalize the area and create one of the greatest sport and entertainment venues in the world.

"We're planning heavily on (entertaining) people who may not be able to get a ticket but still want to come and support the team," LaForge said. "There's going to be lots of space outdoors, big screens, places to watch the game and celebrate the team with your friends as if you were actually sitting in the bowl."

Eighteen-year Season Seat Holder Chris Schmidt has attended games in other facilities across the League and is excited to see the world-class ammenities made famous in Phoenix ( Arena) and Los Angeles (Staples Center) come to Oil Country.

"I'm looking forward to it," Schmidt said. "At our arena right now, there's not a lot else there. To have that option to go and have a meal beforehand or do something afterwards, it will be nice to do that."

That vision is nearing completion.

"Final blueprints will be in the hands of City Council in late September," LaForge said.

The general contractor, Edmonton-based PCL Construction, will then get four weeks to budget costs on concrete, steel, electrical services and the like before re-addressing council with the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) around Halloween.

In addition to the cost, PCL is committed to a set delivery date of "on or about Aug. 1, 2016."

"We should start breaking ground in January of 2014," LaForge said. "Twenty-nine months of construction later and we'll be open for business on Sept. 1, 2016."

-- Ryan Dittrick, | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick
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