December 4, 2018 11:11 am
Updated: December 4, 2018 9:24 pm

Calgary’s BMO Centre expansion plans now front and centre with new funding model

WATCH: A mega-project is in the works for Stampede Park with plans to expand the BMO Centre. As Sarah Offin reports, businesses on the east side of Calgary's downtown say it couldn't come at a better time.

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Calgary city council will soon see a plan to move forward with the BMO Centre expansion.

All three levels of government need to come on board, but a funding model that could add hundreds of millions of dollars worth of jobs to the city is now in place for the mega project.

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Called the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL), it’s a provincially administered funding mechanism that allows municipalities to use future tax income to prepare areas for development. A similar plan was used to help develop the East Village area.

It’s a game changer for the BMO Centre expansion and all of Victoria Park, as the CRL can now be used for the BMO project. Proponents of the project say the new funding model will allow for the development of the arts and entertainment district.

READ MORE: Alberta looks for economic boost as Calgary hosts major tourism conference

“The big one for me with the BMO expansion…is the ability to attract hoteliers, the ability to attract activity to the area,” said Michael Brown, president and CEO of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation. “If you wanted to be a cultural and entertainment district, you need to have hotels and you need to have retail and you need to have residential, and that is the starting point.”

WATCH: Global News Morning Calgary’s Doug Vaessen talks about development at the BMO Centre in Calgary.

The new funding model also has the support of the Calgary Stampede’s leadership.

“Because the BMO Centre expansion doesn’t redistribute existing business amongst the city, it actually brings in 11 to 14 new major events,” said Warren Connell, CEO of the Calgary Stampede. “[It’s] all about sparking the hotels, main streets and retail and residential and offices…Calgary needs something like that to get off the ground and get going again.”

If approved by the municipal, provincial and federal governments, the new funding model would add about 3,000 direct and indirect jobs as well as about $225 million a year to the GDP.

If all goes well, construction on the five-year project could begin next year.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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