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Calgary Stadiums and Arenas

Oddball

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http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/co...-their-plan-b-for-a-new-arena-with-calgarians

Granted, I don't follow this particular issue as closely as I did when the CalgaryNEXT proposal was still fresh in all our minds. However, this is the first I've heard of there being any kind of Plan B for the Flames organization. To be clear, there is no concretely available plan B, at least not publicly. And there may not even be one, but I'm glad to hear alternatives are being discussed.

I for one have gone from luke-warm in my reception of the original CalgaryNEXT proposal to loathing. The team's proposal would have been ghastly expensive and made a muck of transit. It just didn't seem like a proposal that had been worked on for 10 years. The uninspiring design, the creosote issue and tone-deaf pitch by the Flames and the League have made an outright hater of me. I had taken to calling it the "Translucent Buttocks" whenever it came up in conversation. So I'm quite happy to hear that other options are being discussed even if they're only theoretical at best.

And since we're operating in the nebulous realm of "theoretical at best" we're free to apply a little imagination. Here's what I'd do if I were in charge of planning the future of the Flames et al. I'd probably preserve the Saddledome as the home of the Calgary Flames. Yes, it's by a floody river. Yes, it has a crazy roof. But the river wasn't that floody until recently and the crazy roof is one our city's best land marks. I'm sure there are many ways the interior could be reworked to make room for Ken King's precious revenue generating premium seating. It isn't like they don't charge us premium prices for the non-premium seating as it is.

At the same time, if they actually wanted to improve the fan experience. All they'd really have to do is add more bathrooms, widen the concourse as it narrows around the ends of the rink and improve the access to the upper levels. It would maybe be nice to touch up some of the bald concrete while they're at it. The exterior needs new cladding and the entrances could be improved along with them. Getting rid of all that corrugated steel is a must.

It isn't all bad for the Dome though. I've always loved the really high ceilings over the main parts of the concourse. It's also got lots of Olympic and pro-sports history and it's location will, in the not too distant future, be near both the Red and Green lines. If properly planned in conjunction with the BMO Centre upgrades then I'm sure access to the Victoria Park station will be greatly improved as well.

I only really care about the sports. Music is a great passion of mine, but if the roof of the Dome is holding up too many concerts, then maybe people should look at a separate 10,000-ish seater venue with concerts in mind. You could call it the New Corral, since the old one is kaput. And the Flames could have some place to play if and when the ever constructed a new venue on the site of the Dome. Heck maybe we could even use that second stadium as a dedicated home for the Hitmen, the Heat or some other team playing a sport other than hockey. Those exist... I hear.

As for McMahon. Tear that sucker down and rebuild anew on the same site. The concourses are rough to say the least and provides no shelter in the devastating cold of late season. I'd like to see something with similar capacity. The current standard capacity is around 35 thousand. If they kept with that number and made it expandable to 40 or even 50 thousand it would be a great venue for Grey Cups and if the rumours are true Olympic Ceremonies and World Cup Matches. Hopefully rebuilding McMahon might also catalyse the rejuvenation of the area. Motel Village and the area around Burns Stadium and Norma Bush Arena are in need of a rethink.

All of that would probably come under the preposterous $890M proposed by the team. It wouldn't involve rushing expensive creosote remediation or destroying the traffic flows into downtown from Bow and Crowchild Trails. it would also leave the WV in the patient and capable hands of the CMLC.
 

Surrealplaces

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Nice post Oddball. This is a topic that everyone in Calgary will have an opinion about. Those who aren't sports fans are at least likely to be a music fan, so in the end this topic will affect pretty much everyone.

Here are some of my thoughts:

I'm with you on the whole proposal at West Village. Too many issues with that proposal to make it one that I would fully embrace. I don't really have any issue with the dome except fore the concert issue. As a music fan it's something that needs to be addressed, and maybe an extensive reno of the dome could fix the issue. I know Madison Square gardens went through a major reno, maybe the same could be done for the Saddledome. Maybe they can go back to the table and try and work out something with the Stampede board to building on Stampede grounds. After all, with the new Green line passing right by, it's a great location for transit....a great location overall really.

I'm also with you on the tear down of MacMahon. Clearly it needs to go, and even if it requires a funding model similar to Regina or Winnipeg, I'm fine with that. Perhaps the could do what Hamilton did, by renovating it one side at a time. That would probably be the cheapest option.

I'd love to kow what the plan B is for the Flames. Plan A is a tough one, and I hope they thought of a plan B.
 

Oddball

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I forgot how Hamilton did that. That would be the most sensible option for the team too since there aren't any alternative stadiums presently available for the Stamps to play at during reconstruction. I thought of a couple other options, but none of them seem as workable.

One option might be to build the new stadium over top of Burns, the track and Norma Bush, then redevelop the land McMahon currently sits on into other new sports facilities. Perhaps the vaunted "Field House." This would put McMahon a little further from Banff Trail Station, but closer to University Station. I'd also like to see that LDS church go. Not that I have anything against Mormons or any other religious affiliations, but it sits at a very awkward site that could otherwise be better integrated into the area.

Another option might be to partner with MRU for a much smaller, but still multi-thousand seater stadium that could be a permanent home for the Cougars, but serve as a temporary home for the Stamps during a few seasons of reconstruction. It would hurt the gate receipts for a few years, but it would be better than having the Stamps go nomadic for the same duration.
 

Surrealplaces

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I like the idea of having it built at Burns/Norma Bush, a stadium in that part of the city is fine. A few $$ as incentive for the Mormons to move might also work.

I never thought about something like partnering with MRU, another good option, as it would be nice to have a smaller stadium in the city for other purposes.
 

Oddball

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http://calgaryherald.com/business/c...ion-double-original-estimate-says-city-report

I think doubling the cost pretty much kills the CalgaryNEXT project. I'd also read somewhere that there's something like an 8-10 year timeline associated with remediation of the site. So if this project is as urget as the Flames are claming, they'll have to focus on alternatives. Hopefully the provide some and we don't just get some lame flip-flop from King about how the team is willing to wait 15 years to get this done all of a sudden.

EDIT:

http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/04/21/ken-king-on-whats-next-with-calgarynext

There are some hints in this Sun article. It looks like the team is waiting for the city to make a counter proposal. Rehab/rebuild McMahon and a new arena/events centre on the Stampede grounds are both in there.
 
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Surrealplaces

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I think the Flames are hanging in there in a 'wait and see what they can get' mode. The Saddledome might be fairly old, but not old enough to be in dire need of a change, so they will probably wait things out a bit.

McMahon on the other hand is terrible.
 

Oddball

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Some news on this in the Herald.

King says that Plan B would likely constitute:

  • A new stadium & event centre on the Stampede Grounds
  • A new field house near the U of C. (The article doesn't stipulate which land near the University that it might occupy.)
  • "Upgrades" to McMahon that King called "temporary."
Other than the phone in on McMahon, I'm generally happy with the direction of Plan B. My key worry with the stadium plan is around how much midway/festival space the Stampede will be giving up to make this happen.

King is still sticking to his guns with CalgaryNEXT as plan A.
 

Cowtown

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Plan B seems so much better than Plan A, which in my mind is all but dead - it never was a good idea in the first place.

I've always thought an arena in the Stampede grounds area is the way to go, and that a new stadium in the spot where McMahon is, is also the way to go.
 

Oddball

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I agree, Plan A both stinks and is as good as dead. When they initially announced it, I was more tepid, but as time as gone on I've become frigid instead. The creosote wasn't even the final nail for me. It was the godawful design (I was calling it the translucent butt.), the overlooked transportation aspects and the severe cut to the football seating.

I wonder if Plan B on the grounds will see the city press forward with it's proposal to have 17th avenue extend into the grounds and meet up with Olympic Way? That could have some pretty cool results. Maybe a mock turn of the centry street scape that opens up into the grounds? :D Add in the BMO centre upgrade and we're in for some huge changes.
 

Always_Biking

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I'm on board with you guys, the Stampede area is the best place for a new arena, the a new stadium should be a separate project in its present location. Maybe they build a new stadium, or renovate McMahon, not sure, but it's a good spot for a stadium.

I would kill to see the Stampede grounds have an opening at 17th ave instead of that godforsaken large wall. That would be brilliant! It's a shame the city didn't have more foresight when they put in the LRT. They come out of ground at the Stampede and then go back underground right after it. They might as well have kept the whole section underground and had one station instead of two.
 

Oddball

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Yeah, it's too bad that there would have to be an at grade LRT crossing there, but it would be better than the Wall. I can't see it being overly distruptive to traffic either given that the strongest flows on MacLeod North bound are at morning rush hour. It would likely be most complicated at Stampede time when the train is one of the main forms of transportation and 17th and MacLeod would also be the main entrance.

Who knows, maybe it will be possible to include a Stampede Station upgrade and a redline entrenchment under 17th avenue into the plans for the area.
 

Oddball

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Hmmm, looks like I was thinking about the situation wrong. If the train line is headded any direction, it may be up.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/macleod-25-intersection-traffic-fix-1.3637826


They're only talking about elevating or trenching the Redline around Erlton/25th. If the city is serious about the proposition to extend 17th into the grounds (something that appeared on CMLC's list of annual priorities) then they have to start thinking bigger picture.
 

Surrealplaces

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Yeah, it looks like tunnelling under 25th is on ly a possibility and doesn't mention if it would be all the way to the underground portion north of Stampede. I could live with the LRT being overhead, but IMO, it would be far better to put it underground and have 17th go right into the Stampede. It's what is needed to spruce up the east end of 17th.
 

Oddball

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Looks like the Flames have come back with some new renders of plan A. Prepare to be... uhhh... whelmed?

The design has changed, but I still can't say they're terribly compelling. Gone is the Translucent Buttocks (we hardly knew yee), and in it's place we have a pair of featureless shoe boxes sporting yawn worthy green roofing. Fear not fans of rump roofing, becuase the butt shaped indent on the football side is about the only embellishment. It's less crappy, but more boring IMHO. I'm still not a fan and hope this is the last gasp for plan A.

My biggest beef remains the serious downgrade in the seeting capacity for football, but it also sounds like the hockey side will have less seating and the a greater proportion of the seating will be of a "premium" variety. So get ready to see less Flames games!




BIG EDIT!


I decided not to double post yet again. While I stand by my critical comments about what I saw in the Herald article, I should say that I've recently found a new and better rendering of Plan A that has changed my perspective. I found this on Calgary Puck, so full credit to them. It is promotional video for the new vision of Plan A.

After having seen the digital renders and the close up walk throughs of the new Plan A, I have to say I like it quite a bit. The assuaged my concerns to some degree that too much arena seating was going to be handed over to private boxes in the arena portion and that there wouldn't be sufficient seating in the arena field house portion. Regardless if you take the Flames estimate of $1.3B or the city's estimate of $1.8B I still don't think this vision of Plan A offers the best return on investment.

In my friend's opinion, considering this renewed proposal and the province entering talks with Domtar, is that moment has sung back in favour of Plan A. It will be interesting to see how this goes. Here's a still from the new proposal that gives a better feel for the new design.

Plan A Still.png
 

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