After years of debate, three different plans, and some past heated words between Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Flames brass, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) can get to work on a new event centre.
‘We’re getting into much deeper conversations around the design, the sighting of the facility and more detailed steps in terms of determining construction schedules and phasing and what that looks like to get the project online and to a groundbreaking,” CMLC spokesperson Clare LePan said.
READ MORE: Calgary city council approves new arena deal
“We could not be more thrilled,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement on Twitter Wednesday. “We look forward to launching an exciting future for this wonderful team in its new home and are grateful to the citizens of Calgary, the city council, and Mayor Nenshi.”
When it comes to the Saddledome, the reality is, it will be there for at least another five years.
The CMLC said it’s extremely likely it will be demolished as part of the land transfer deal with the Calgary Stampede included in the arena proposal — though Nenshi has maintained optimistic it could be saved, telling the public to send their ideas and saying on Global News Hour at 6 on Wednesday there’s a “slim chance” it could be saved.
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“If somebody out there has a brilliant plan for how to repurpose that building, send it in now,” Nenshi told reporters Tuesday. “But ultimately we have to be responsible to keep a building going and pay those maintenance fees.”
Cost of the Saddledome demolition is factored into the $550-million arena deal.
The Calgary Stampede said Wednesday it’s too early to comment on its next steps.
Local historians hope to see some Saddledome pieces, like seats, auctioned off as a way to remember an iconic part of Stampede Park that will be unrecognizable in the future.
“I’m hopeful that whatever they come up with for the new arena, that the architecture and design for it is something equally as exciting,” Calgary Heritage Authority’s Josh Traptow said. “That entire part of Stampede Park will look very different with the Corral eventually disappearing along with the Saddledome.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the area continues to develop given it’s one of Calgary’s older historic neighbourhoods.”