Project update – Sept. 14, 2022
The City, through the third party, continutes conversations with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC). Our goal remains to understanding each other’s perspectives in determining if there is a path forward to a new Event Centre. We are pleased with the progress being made, and expect these conversations to continue until we can confirm how best to proceed with CSEC.
It's important to remember we have not put a deadline or formal timeline in place because it’s more important to take the time to get it right and ensure we are all aligned on the path forward.
In addition to understanding CSEC’s current perspective on how best to move forward, the third party continues to research and understand recent event centre projects in North America, which includes their respective financial models and agreements.
The work underway doesn’t just consider an event centre by itself, but also how a venue and amenity such as this can best benefit Calgary’s downtown and the city as a whole.
Event Centre Committee
On March 8, 2022, Council approved the creation of the Event Centre Committee (ECC), which includes the following members:
Three Members of Council:
- Sonya Sharp; Councillor
- Dan McLean; Councillor & appointed to the Board of Calgary Exhibition and Stampede
- Courtney Walcott; Councillor & appointed to the Board of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
Two public members:
- Deborah Yedlin; President & CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
- Brad Parry; President & CEO, Calgary Economic Development
The first ECC was held on April 4, 2022, at which time Councillor Sharp was confirmed as Chair and Deborah Yedlin as Vice Chair.
City Administration has engaged a third party to help renew engagement with CSEC and provide recommendations for a new deal structure and path forward.
“We look forward to working with City Administration, the third party and CSEC to ensure a successful process results in an event centre. We believe this project is critical to Calgary’s future, underpinning a vision that is forward looking and representative of the exciting opportunities that are on the horizon.”
- Event Centre Committee Chair, Councillor Sonya Sharp
The third party consists of three individuals: John Fisher, Executive Vice President – CBRE; Guy Huntingford, Director of Strategic Initiatives – NAIOP Calgary; and Phil Swift, Executive Chairman - Ayrshire Group. This team brings considerable expertise from the commercial real estate industry, including experience in larger developments. The third party reports to City Administration, and is under a strict confidentiality agreement.
The third party has spent considerable time understanding the items and interests behind the terminated agreement and the current landscape. As these items become clarified, and based on meetings with both The City and CSEC, they will be making recommendations on a possible path forward. Currently, there is no formal commitment or timeline to establish interest in re-entering discussions to construct an event centre and what conditions might be required to do so. As these discussions progress, updates will be provided through the ECC.
The Event Centre will solidify Calgary’s place as a major destination for visitors from around the world. The Event Centre will be a year-round destination for all Calgarians as a cornerstone of Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment district.
While the Saddledome has been loved by many since the 1988 Olympics, aging infrastructure, old technology, and accessibility issues have made it more difficult to attract large events. The Event Centre will be able to accommodate tours by world-leading performing artists, events and festivals.
The Event Centre will promote and attract private investment, jobs and economic growth. It will be located at 12 Avenue and 4 Street S.E., as the gateway into Stampede Park and the new front door of the Culture + Entertainment District.
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) remains the stewards for the delivery of the Rivers District Master Plan for Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District. They are leading near-by projects including the BMO Centre Expansion, 17th Ave Extension and Stampede Station rebuild and Stampede Trail festival street.
Benefits to Calgarians
The Event Centre will be located in East Victoria Park – one of Calgary's oldest residential communities. Established as the East Ward in 1880, the Agricultural Society of Calgary named the community "Victoria Park" in 1889 after Queen Victoria. The area is an important piece to the Rivers District Master Plan, which imagines a 20-year vision for Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District. The result is expected to realize four million square feet of mixed-use development and more than 8,000 new residents moving into the district.
In 1997, a group of local business owners formed the Victoria Park Business Improvement Area in an effort to encourage development and revitalize the community. This helped steer the neighbourhood towards a new period of growth and development. Today, Victoria Park is one of the city's most vibrant and thriving urban neighbourhoods.
The Event Centre will replace the Saddledome that was constructed for the 1988 Olympics. It will reinvigorate interest in the Culture + Entertainment District and the surrounding area which could provide a significant opportunity for private sector investment in the area and the development of under-used lands.
Led by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the Rivers District Master Plan imagines a 20-year vision for Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District. It’s a vibrant, high-density, mixed-use community that draws on the spirit of entertainment that resides in its DNA, as well as its natural surroundings. The vision for East Victoria Park will result in four million square feet of mixed-use development and more than 8,000 new residents moving into the district.
East Victoria Park and the surrounding area of Stampede Park is a master planned area that is envisioned as Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District. It is the ideal location because it meets the needs of Calgary:
- It is already home to the Saddledome.
- It has the necessary infrastructure to support an event centre.
- It is within walking distance to many culture and entertainment venues such as Stampede Park, BMO Centre, Arts Commons, the new Central Library and the National Music Centre.
- It supports the long-term vision set out in the Council-approved Rivers District Master Plan and contributes to the greater vision for east Victoria Park as a Culture + Entertainment District.
- It acts as an anchor to support future development outlined in the Downtown Strategy.
- It is near the existing Red and Blue lines of the LRT and will be close to the new Green Line.
- It will be adjacent to a planned 5 Street S.E. underpass to support pedestrian and vehicle traffic and the planned 17th Avenue SE Extension to connect the district to the existing 17th Avenue business and retail corridor.
- It will be a gateway into the Culture + Entertainment District and Stampede Park.
The City of Calgary has already made major investments in infrastructure and local area enhancements over the last 10 years.
The Saddledome was built for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. It has served Calgary well but is aging. The Saddledome will be demolished after occupancy of the new Event Centre.
Other capital projects
Arts Commons Transformation
Executed in two phases, ACT is the development of a new facility (the Road House), and the revitalization of the Resident House which is currently home to six resident companies. This will ensure Arts Commons remains a key contributor to our city’s social, economic, cultural and intellectual life and well-being.