New Calgary arena for Flames, Stampeders in West Village to cost $900M


The group that owns the Calgary Flames hockey club and Stampeders football team has revealed plans for a $900-million project to build a new home for the two teams.

The plan calls for a 20,000-seat arena that would replace the Scotiabank Saddledome where the NHL Flames currently play.

It also includes a 30,000-seat indoor football stadium for the CFL Stampeders that would also serve as a fieldhouse.

We're going to have retractable seats, said Flames CEO Ken King, explaining how the football field and 400-metre running track will co-exist.

King said the sports complex, which had been dubbed CalgaryNEXT ahead of Tuesday's unveiling, will be for everyone.

It's not for the elites. It's not for the hockey players, not for the football players. It's for all of the citizens in our city, he said as he unveiled drawings that also showed several new condo and commercial towers and a hotel surrounding the new sports facilities.

King revealed that the "live, work, play" development is planned for the West Village, an area at the western edge of Calgary's downtown along the Bow River where the city's Greyhound bus depot and two car dealerships now sit.

The land will need to be decontaminated as it was the site of a creosote wood-treatment plant until the 1960s.

King said the project will finally provide the impetus for a group effort to get the land cleaned up.

Nothing good is easy. But doing nothing is really easy. And this is the antithesis of doing nothing, I assure you, he said.

The plan calls for the project to be funded through a $250-million ticket tax, a $240-million community levy, $200 million from team ownership and $200 million from city taxpayers for the fieldhouse.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman welcomed the announcement.

The NHL is excited to learn that Calgary is taking the next step toward the introduction of a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility for its community and professional sports teams, he said in a written statement.

King says the time has come to replace both the Saddledome, built in 1983, and the 55-year-old McMahon Stadium in northwest Calgary.

The Saddledome could be re-purposed as exhibition and trade-show space, he says. The Flames ownership group will work with the Calgary Stampede on that issue, he said.

But McMahon Stadium, which is owned by the University of Calgary, should probably be torn down, King said.
What you're left with is a beautiful transit-oriented development opportunity, he said. It's a very, very valuable opportunity for a university.
Nick Twyman, the president of the Sunalta Community Association, says the new inner-city sports complex could be good for his area.
There's a lot of poverty in our neighbourhood, a lot of low-income housing. We want something like this to bring opportunities for people in our neighbourhood and to make our neighbourhood a better place as well, he said.
King said the new sportsplex would take about three years to build. He said his most ambitious timeline is to see a ribbon-cutting five years from now.

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