After an unexpected announcement that the Calgary Event Centre and arena project was put on ice just before the holidays, Global News has learned the deal between the City of Calgary and the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) has officially come to an end.
A source with knowledge of the situation told Global News that city administration is currently working with both parties to wind down the project. A full report will be presented to city council within the next few months.
Both the CSEC and the city had until the end of December to reach an agreement to determine when shovels could hit the ground for construction.
However, there’s no word yet as to if both parties had met between the time the announcement was made back on Dec. 21, 2021, and now.
According to sources, written notice was needed to proceed to the construction phase — which wasn’t given by the time of the deadline — meaning there’s no opportunity for the arena deal to come back to fruition.
In a late evening tweet last month, Mayor Jyoti Gondek announced the group intended to “pull the plug” on the deal, and called the party walking away over 1.5 per cent of the deal “staggering.”
The mayor went on to say it appeared as though CSEC was “unable to make that financial commitment following the approval of their development permit,” which signalled the multi-million dollar deal to be quashed.
Early estimates pegged the entire project to cost roughly $550 million — which later proved to be much higher as a report released in summer 2021 pegged the project at $608.5 million.
Then come December, reports showed the total cost had ballooned to $634 million.
In an early Tuesday morning email, a spokesperson for CSEC said neither contributing party waived the conditions laid out in the project framework agreement, hence the termination of it.
“We have always believed that Calgary needs a new event centre,” stated John Bean, president and CEO of CSEC.
“However, under the current circumstances, we do not see a path forward that would create a viable partnership with the city, which is essential for a new event centre to become a reality.”
Global News has reached out to the City of Calgary administration for comment; however, as of the time of this publication, hadn’t heard back.