No additional public money will be put into a proposed downtown arena, Edmonton city councillors said Wednesday.
Council met in private to discuss a request for an undisclosed amount of money from the Katz Group, after which Mayor Stephen Mandel said council voted to stick with the cost-shared $450 million deal agreed upon last October.
“Council has made the decision that they’re willing to stand behind and support the motion that was passed in October that was, in my opinion, a very good deal for all parties,” said Mandel. “It kept sustainable, strong, great NHL hockey here.”
In a statement, Katz Group vice-president John Karvellas said it has come to light the project can’t be done for $450 million, and doing so would be sacrificing an “iconic” arena.
Karvellas also said the Katz Group has offered to pay a fair share of extra costs, but Coun. Don Iveson said discussions on Wednesday didn’t centre around the cost of the building.
“It has to do with concessions they want over the 35 years of operation,” he said. “Additional public subsidies.”
Coun. Bryan Anderson said the new asks are “way too substantial and way too unacceptable.”
“It looks like Katz is having second thoughts about a variety of things,” he said.
In a letter to the city posted on the Oilers’ website late Wednesday, the Katz Group detailed some of their concerns.
In addition to $450 million being insufficient for the arena, the group said the Winter Garden part of the project cannot be built for its $50 million estimate either.
The letter also stated the group is worried about delays, saying the original goal was to get an agreement finalized within months.
The letter also outlined that the financial framework agreed upon last year suggests the city should be able to put up more money from the community revitalization levy (CRL) for the project.
“We believe the city has significant capacity beyond its commitment of $45 million,” it reads.
Finally, the Katz Group suggests in the letter the Oilers are a smaller market team that needs the city’s support.
“We are seeking a deal that reflects Edmonton’s standing as the second smallest market in the NHL.”
When asked if he was still optimistic about the project going forward, Mandel hesitated.
“Optimistic might not be the best word. Frustrated might be a better word.”
- The framework agreed upon Oct. 26, 2011 includes $100 million from the Katz Group, $125 million from a ticket tax, $125 million from the city, and an outstanding $100 million Mandel is confident will still come from the province.