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New Arena/Entertainment District

Do you support the proposal for the new arena?

  • Yes

    Votes: 38 84.4%
  • No

    Votes: 3 6.7%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 4 8.9%

  • Total voters
    45

Silence&Motion

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It almost makes me weep to think that when the Maple Leafs/Raptors built the ACC they essentially paid the public to do so, both because they bought the property from Canada Post, and because they built a variety of public amenities into the project on their own dime. Amazing what sports franchises are capable of when there’s no expectation of public subsidies.
 
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zagox

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It almost makes me weep to think that when the Maple Leafs/Raptors built the ACC they essentially paid the public to do so, both because they bought the property from Canada Post, and because they built a variety of public amenities into the project on their own dime. Amazing what sports franchises are capable of when there’s no expectation of public subsidies.
It's really hard to imagine an NHL without a Toronto team, and when there is no realistic threat of relocation and mega-revenues from a big city, self-funded projects are possible. At Calgary's size - even adjusting for the high incomes, high corporate sponsor density, and high popularity of hockey in the city - there are clearly fairly good alternatives to a negotiated agreement for the ownership. That is reflected in the deal on the table.
 

JonnyCanuck

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The deal is done. The public has to make a leap of faith that this initiative will deliver a tangible economic benefit to the city. Most Calgarians will participate in the arena events or surrounding entertainment district, in some way, over their lifetime. Whether that is worth the investment made by the city ... only time will tell. Let's just get on with it.
What I don't understand is why the project is not expected to start before 2021. Why 18-24 months from now? The land is currently vacant and is used for surface parking. Except for Stampede & Flames games it sits empty most of the time. Surely some of the construction can get started earlier than this? Is the delay until the BMO expansion gets further along?
 

MichaelS

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The deal is done. The public has to make a leap of faith that this initiative will deliver a tangible economic benefit to the city. Most Calgarians will participate in the arena events or surrounding entertainment district, in some way, over their lifetime. Whether that is worth the investment made by the city ... only time will tell. Let's just get on with it.
What I don't understand is why the project is not expected to start before 2021. Why 18-24 months from now? The land is currently vacant and is used for surface parking. Except for Stampede & Flames games it sits empty most of the time. Surely some of the construction can get started earlier than this? Is the delay until the BMO expansion gets further along?
It is so they can design the arena. Much like the BMO Expansion, the pretty renderings used in the media are NOT the design we will be getting. They were simply conceptual renderings to generate interest. Part of the agreement is to have both the City and CSEC being equal partners on the input into the design. I imagine it will have to go to a public RFP (is it even legal to sole source a contract with $275 million in public funding?), which will be out very soon, with design underway in late 2019, finalization and approvals in late 2020. Ground breaking in 2021.
 

Surrealplaces

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The deal is done. The public has to make a leap of faith that this initiative will deliver a tangible economic benefit to the city. Most Calgarians will participate in the arena events or surrounding entertainment district, in some way, over their lifetime. Whether that is worth the investment made by the city ... only time will tell. Let's just get on with it.
What I don't understand is why the project is not expected to start before 2021. Why 18-24 months from now? The land is currently vacant and is used for surface parking. Except for Stampede & Flames games it sits empty most of the time. Surely some of the construction can get started earlier than this? Is the delay until the BMO expansion gets further along?
My understanding is the design still needs to be done, the renderings seen were only concept renderings. They probably have a good idea of what they want, but still need a design from an architect, that they can submit with a DP.
 

Silence&Motion

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The deal is done. The public has to make a leap of faith that this initiative will deliver a tangible economic benefit to the city.
There will be no tangible economic benefits to the city. That's not even in question. The boosters who are making the case for economic benefits are being purposely misleading, such as ignoring inflation over 35 years, pretending that all development in the area district will not be drained from other areas, or like Brett Wilson who tried to argue that the value of the arena will go up over 35 years just like a residential property (spoiler alert: in 35 years the value of the arena will be negative and it will be 100% on the City's books).

The "leap of faith" is that it will provide non-economic benefits such as "civic pride", attracting more A-list concerts, spurring the development of an actual entertainment district that is vibrant and lively. Those are all good things, don't get me wrong. But the city is not going to be making money off of this. Worse case scenario is that 35 years from now, the costs of the arena have ballooned, the Flames are threatening to leave again unless they get millions more for renovations, and the Stampede grounds have become another Eau Claire.

Convention centres, casinos, and sports arenas. Victoria Park is shaping up to be the 1980's wet dream of a neighbourhood.
 

darwink

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Convention centres, casinos, and sports arenas. Victoria Park is shaping up to be the 1980's wet dream of a neighbourhood.
If done well, it could be a nice active hub. Done poorly, it will be full of chains, and walking around you will wonder whether you are in any of 10 midwest/mountain west cities.
 

Surrealplaces

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For me the support for the arena was 100% for two reasons. 1) concerts 2) the risk of losing the Flames and thus the risk of losing a partner to help build a new arena at a later date.

Not sure how the economics benefits will turn out, I suspect it'll be somewhat of a wash in the end with some benefits seen and some not panning out.
 

Zoom

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The City is a deal taker, not a deal maker.
That statement sums it all up. The city can't build an arena themselves, so it's a case of hoping someone else will pay for all of it, or partnering with someone. In larger markets where the franchises have larger values, and are more profitable, there's a better chance someone will do it themselves, but that wasn't going to be the case here in Calgary.
I think there was a legitimate risk that they might someday leave, and if they did it could have long lasting negative effects. With them gone, there is 0% chance of a new arena or entertainment district.
To me this wasn't about the potential upsides, so much as the potential downsides.
 

CBBarnett

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Convention centres, casinos, and sports arenas. Victoria Park is shaping up to be the 1980's wet dream of a neighbourhood.
I would suggest an old article by Harry Hiller, an urban geographer based out of U of C., titled: "Mega-events and community obsolescence: redevelopment versus rehabilitation in Victoria Park East" a good read on all the history here.
http://people.ucalgary.ca/~hiller/pdfs/vicpark.pdf

From a historic standpoint, the event centre is the latest in a long line of political, local elites and booster mega-project interference into a small area of our city. This very much is a continuation of the 1980s booster thinking - with the exception that urban real estate markets are quite different and many people do like living in the city centre. Selling the equivalent of $400K luxury condos in giant condo tower in the 1980s in Victoria Park would have been unfathomable at the time.

Political and local elite/booster interference is inevitable and is reflected at all scales of urban development. The current state of Victoria Park is reflective of the devastating power when the big money, the big events (i.e. stampede), the big politics and the big private-influenced publicly executed advantages are used to tip the scales in one area to a particular outcome. Behold:

1979: at the eve of the previous stadium debate.
197190


2018: at the eve of the next stadium debate.
197191


Victoria Park - as the former community - cannot be described as anything but a massive systemic failure in city building. All the actors (the City and it's policies, the city-subsidized Stampede, the sports team ownership, various boosters for conventions, Expo bidders, Olympic committees etc.) have done many good things for the city as a whole - but their actions have long been in direct opposition and at the cost of Victoria Park as a functioning neighbourhood. The neighbourhood didn't just die on it's own, it was taken apart systematically by the public and private actors claiming to be trying to save it (and Calgary).

As for the next iteration of the neighbourhood, I am much more optimistic. The planning, design and understanding of local economies and city-building have come a long way since the 1980s. It's popular to live and visit central areas. And whatever they do is only replacing parking lots.

But lets not forget those parking lots replaced homes and a community. In the 1980s, they were replaced by the same powers that are proposing the new plans (of course different people and a different time - with the exception of the stampede board as they are all a million years old.) Not that we should be suspicious of new plans - just that we should always be aware of what happens when local elite actors want something and the City helps them with public influence, public dollars and scale tipping. It can go very well or spectacularly devastatingly wrong.
 

Social Justice

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I would suggest an old article by Harry Hiller, an urban geographer based out of U of C., titled: "Mega-events and community obsolescence: redevelopment versus rehabilitation in Victoria Park East" a good read on all the history here.
http://people.ucalgary.ca/~hiller/pdfs/vicpark.pdf

From a historic standpoint, the event centre is the latest in a long line of political, local elites and booster mega-project interference into a small area of our city. This very much is a continuation of the 1980s booster thinking - with the exception that urban real estate markets are quite different and many people do like living in the city centre. Selling the equivalent of $400K luxury condos in giant condo tower in the 1980s in Victoria Park would have been unfathomable at the time.

Political and local elite/booster interference is inevitable and is reflected at all scales of urban development. The current state of Victoria Park is reflective of the devastating power when the big money, the big events (i.e. stampede), the big politics and the big private-influenced publicly executed advantages are used to tip the scales in one area to a particular outcome. Behold:

1979: at the eve of the previous stadium debate.
View attachment 197190

2018: at the eve of the next stadium debate.
View attachment 197191
I wish time travel existed. I'd love to see inner city Calgary before all the lots were bulldozed.
 

JonnyCanuck

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That area of Victoria Park that was bulldozed for the BMO and Stampede Park expansion, saw it's best days 80-100 years ago. In the decade or two leading up to that happening, it was a pretty run down area. Many of the houses were rented out and not well maintained. Prostitution and drugs were not uncommon. It was inevitable that something was going to change.
 

Silence&Motion

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That area of Victoria Park that was bulldozed for the BMO and Stampede Park expansion, saw it's best days 80-100 years ago. In the decade or two leading up to that happening, it was a pretty run down area. Many of the houses were rented out and not well maintained. Prostitution and drugs were not uncommon. It was inevitable that something was going to change.
According to accounts that I've read, the sex and drug trade thrived in the neighbourhood because it was in the process of being demolished. I've even read that city authorities basically pushed it into the area to contain it because they had already written off the neighbourhood even though people still lived there.

The sea of parking lots and big box buildings that is Victoria Park is the inevitable consequence of letting business and government elites (aka "the old boys club") attempt to play "Sim City" with a neighbourhood without having to go through any community consultation or basic processes of transparency and accountability.
 

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