A showcase sports and entertainment complex that will be home to the Calgary Flames is also a catalyst for the development of a vibrant new Rivers Entertainment and Cultural District that will enhance Calgary’s reputation as a great place to work and live.
The plans for a new events centre in Victoria Park, east of downtown, were announced by the City of Calgary and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp (CSEC) on July 22 and the deal was approved by City Council in a vote on July 30.
The plans for the new events centre aligns with the overall goals in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy, that was approved by City Council last year.
“Investing in arts, culture and recreation infrastructure is particularly important when a city is trying to rebuild its economy,” said Mary Moran, president and chief executive officer for Calgary Economic Development. “Investment in the community helps create a strong sense of attachment to Calgary for our citizens and helps immensely in recruiting top talent and companies that will contribute to our evolving economy.”
A new events centre supports the economic strategy by generating a greater sense of attachment to the city. It will create an exciting place for Calgarians to gather, strengthen relationships and to celebrate. It will also stimulate the economy, enhance property values, bolster civic pride, help local businesses and attract new ones.
Professional sports teams and top entertainment also help attract investment and top talent.
A showcase new events centre will also enhance the quality of life for many Calgarians, which is a major factor in the Economist Intelligence Unit rating Calgary as the most livable city in North America and fourth globally.
The $75 million from the agreement that will go to local sports and cultural groups, and the smaller rink for public use, are important to quality of life.
The new events centre aligns with the City’s Rivers District Master Plan. In January, Calgary Economic Development presented Council with a study, the Economic Impact Assessment of the Rivers District Revitalization, that identified three projects – expansions for Arts Commons and BMO Centre, and the new events centre – as key catalysts for redevelopment.
The cost of building the $550 million events centre will be split evenly by the City and CSEC. The City retains 100 per cent ownership of the facility while CSEC pays 100 per cent of operating, maintenance and repairs for 35 years. Overall, the events centre development is projected to generate more than $400 million for the City and Calgarians.