The question of whether a new arena should be built at Limeridge Mall, or downtown as part of a larger entertainment venue, was back in front of Hamilton politicians on Wednesday.
Hamilton’s general issues committee has heard from Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer, who says he would pay up to $30 million toward the construction of a mountain arena for his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team.
Andlauer’s presentation estimates that a 6,000-seat arena at Limeridge Mall, along with a three-storey parking garage, would cost $126 million.
Andlauer is also offering to be responsible for maintenance of the new arena, which he says would result in savings for taxpayers since it would eliminate the cost of ongoing repairs that are needed to maintain an aging FirstOntario Centre.
“At the end of the day, I try to be conscientious to look at it from the standpoint that it’s not going to cost taxpayers any more money than it presently is today,” Andlauer told Global News.
Listen: Global News Radio’s Bill Kelly talks with Michael Andlauer about his mountain arena proposal to the city
Councillors have to decide if they are open to considering Andlauer’s proposal, alongside a separate process to investigate options for redeveloping city-owned sport and entertainment venues within the city core.
The debate centres around the potential for a private-public redevelopment of FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton Place and the Hamilton Convention Centre.
A recently-presented consultant’s report has estimated the cost of building a new 10,000-seat arena and concert facility downtown at more than $130 million.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger says he understands the need for some malls to “repurpose” their space in the age of online shopping, but believes there’s little in the way of “symbiotic” facilities to make the mountain location a “destination spot.”
“I don’t know that you get that on the mountain, you definitely get that in the lower city,” said Eisenberger.