After much speculation, the Calgary Flames have announced plans for a massive sports complex, including a new football stadium and field house. The plan would see replacements for the aging Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium constructed on the west side of Calgary’s downtown. Dubbed CalgaryNEXT, here’s a breakdown of five things you need to know about the new Calgary arena project.
Currently home to an assortment of car dealerships, empty lots and the GreyHound bus station, the proposed site for the project sits alongside the recently opened Sunalta LRT in Calgary’s West Village. Once home to a creosote plant, construction on the site would likely necessitate a costly cleanup, with an estimated pricetag between $50 and $300 million.
Expected to cost an estimated $890 million, the budget laid out as part of the proposal would see a $240-million community revitalization levy, a $250-million ticket tax, $200-million from the City of Calgary to fund the fieldhouse, and a $200-million contribution from the Flames’ ownership group.
While images presented at the unveiling were limited, CalgaryNEXT would see construction of a 19,000 seat “arena events centre” along with a 30,000-seat, “Multisport Fieldhouse Stadium” with a covered roof and retractable seats to accommodate a 400-metre track. The proposal also includes plans for residential housing in the form of condominiums as well as hotels and commercial space.
With new buildings planned to replace Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena (1979) in Edmonton’s Rexall Place (1974), the Scotiabank Saddledome (1983) will soon be the oldest arena in the NHL, with New York’s Madison Square Garden (1968) recently receiving it’s second major renovation at a cost of $1 billion. Originally opened in 1960, McMahon Stadium also ranks as one of the CFL’s oldest stadiums.
With a total cost of $890-million, the obvious comparable for a new NHL arena in Calgary sits just up the QE II. While Edmonton’s 890,000 square-foot Ice District lacks the stadium component, the 18,647-seat Rogers Place arena – which is set to open for the 2016-17 NHL season – comes with an estimated priced tag of $480-million. The CFL’s newest stadium – Hamilton’s 24,000-seat Tim Horton’s Field – was constructed at a cost of $145.7 million.