CFL group looking to get public funding for proposed $110M Halifax stadium

Click to play video: 'CFL group seeks public funding for Halifax stadium'
CFL group seeks public funding for Halifax stadium
WATCH: The City of Halifax has released some details on the proposal to bring a CFL team to Halifax and build a multi-million dollar stadium in Shannon park. Alexa MacLean has the details. – Sep 26, 2019

On Thursday, Halifax Regional Municipality released the proposal for Shannon Park, the former site of military housing on the Dartmouth side of the Halifax Harbour, to be the site of its future 24,000-seat stadium.

The proposal was first received by the municipality from Schooners Sport and Entertainment (SSE), the CFL group, on Friday, Aug. 30., which can now be accessed via the municipal website.

According to the SSE proposal, some or all the funds needed to build the stadium, estimated to cost between $100 million and $110 million, would be generated from a tax incremental financing (TIF) model.

READ MORE: Group trying to land CFL franchise in Halifax submits business plan to city

An economics professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Moshe Lander, explains that the idea of the model is to basically get public funding.

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“It’s a model that a lot of sports franchises do [where public funding is given from] a portion of any property tax that’s generated by the surrounding development that comes after the stadium is built,” Lander explained.

“So you build a stadium in Shannon Park. Next thing you know there’s all kinds of houses, restaurants and stuff that get built.”

READ MORE: Halifax CFL group says Moncton contest success not critical to long-term goal

Currently, there are no houses or restaurants in Shannon Park, but SSE sees the potential for a commercial district being created once the stadium gets built.

Lander says in the last five to seven years, this same business model has been used to great effect in Ottawa and Edmonton.

“Sports owners like SSE, what they figured out is why don’t they build residences and commercial properties themselves? So that way when they as the residential and commercial owners pay property tax they’re effectively paying a portion of it to themselves,” Lander said.

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WATCH: This weekend saw Shannon Park solidified as the main target for a potential stadium 

Click to play video: 'Community members left blindsided after prospective Halifax CFL team names Shannon Park as arena location'
Community members left blindsided after prospective Halifax CFL team names Shannon Park as arena location

According to Lander, the stadium is “merely the excuse to now create the property management” and development, which is the money-maker for the project.

“It’s a good move for SSE,” Lander said. “It’s going to be the taxpayer that ends up holding the bill.”

Lander says there’s a big chance the proposal will go forward.

According to the proposal, the CFL has guaranteed that SSE will host at least one Grey Cup in the first 10 years of existence.

“The economic and social impact that a Grey Cup would have on HRM and Atlantic Canada is immense,” the proposal stated.

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A study conducted by Sportcal — a sports market intelligence firm based in London, England — concluded that the 2018 Grey Cup hosted in Edmonton last November had a total economic impact of more than $81 million.

The study also notes that the Grey Cup was a source of civic pride: 93 per cent of local citizens surveyed agreed that the Grey Cup had a positive impact on the city and 94 per cent said the City of Edmonton should host the Grey Cup again.

The SSE proposal shows that some of the key benefits in building the stadium include a lasting legacy to local and regional youth sport, drive regional, national and international tourism and provide free access to the community stadium parking facilities for use by Shannon Park Elementary School and HRM.

HRM said in a media release that per direction from Regional Council, the review by municipal staff must include evaluations on the need, cost-benefit, risk, economic impact, partnership opportunities and current cost estimates of the project before it can go forward.

The Chief Administrative Officer’s report with recommendations is expected to be presented in late winter or early spring. 


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