The City of Calgary (The City), Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) and Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) are pleased to announce that Council has voted in favour of amending the terms of the project agreement. This past spring, The City and CSEC agreed to revisit the project budget and other items based on new information from the design phase. This approval provides the support required for the Event Centre project to complete the detailed design stages of the project with construction anticipated to commence in Q1 of 2022.
“This is an important project for our city, our economy and our citizens. We have to get it right,” says Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshi. “I’m happy to see how well we’ve worked together to acknowledge emerging challenges and find solutions. We took the time we needed to get the design and budget right for this long-term investment.”
Through collaborative efforts over the past several months, the project partners reviewed, revised and recommitted to the Event Centre design and budget. The following amendments are a result of that work:
The City will contribute an additional $12.5M to the overall project budget. This amount was already committed to in the original agreement as a contingency fund, however was not a part of the initial budget. The new budget estimate is $608.5M (the original estimate was $550M). This refinement brings The City’s portion of the Event Centre budget to $287.5M, which is within the agreed upon amount within the original Framework Agreement. CSEC will fund the additional $321M.
CSEC will transition to the role of development manager for the Event Centre project. In taking on this role, CSEC also becomes accountable for any costs overruns above and beyond the new budget estimate. The City maintains a level of oversight to ensure adherence to project principles and framework throughout the project. This includes ensuring the project vision is achieved and that public interests are maintained. Due to the new cost accountability model, neither The City nor CSEC will have to provide financial securities upfront.
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) remains the stewards for the delivery of the Rivers District Master Plan for Calgary’s Cultural & Entertainment District and projects already underway including the BMO Centre Expansion, 17th Ave Extension and Stampede Station rebuild and Stampede Trail festival street.
Facility fees will be 9.5 per cent and 8 per cent, for concerts and general events and CSEC sporting events respectively. Two per cent of all facility fees will go to The City of Calgary to help offset project costs over time.
The City will lead development of a mobility and event management plan to facilitate access and flow for all modes of transportation in the area. It will balance the needs of the Event Centre operations with the goals and objectives of the Rivers District Master Plan and area to ensure people can move safely and congestion is managed appropriately before and after events.
The City will continue to fund capital improvements to the road, pedestrian and transit networks and will jointly fund operating costs required in conjunction with CSEC.
“First and foremost, we thank Calgarians for their patience and understanding as we paused to revisit the important issues regarding the Event Centre,” says John Bean, President & CEO, CSEC. “Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation is pleased with Council’s endorsement today in support of amendments to this priority project for our City. Following a fulsome review, this collaborative effort of partners has resulted in a revised agreement which will provide a vital community resource for decades to come. Thank you to Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Councillor Jeff Davison for their leadership through this process and to all our Council for their commitment and vision to invest in our City’s future.”
The agreed-to approach to building the Event Centre further lowers The City’s risk, reinforces its commitment to the District, and ensures that public money is used for public benefit, which will result in a facility built that Calgarians can be proud of.
“Our decision to transition management of the project follows numerous open talks with the partners and careful consideration of the best role for each of us to play,” says Kate Thompson, CMLC President and CEO. “We suggested many options and are supportive of where we landed with this revised governance structure that provides a good solution for cost accountability and project delivery while ensuring the best possible facility for Calgarians. We remain committed to delivering on our larger role of delivering a world-class Culture + Entertainment District for Calgary. In the coming weeks, our team will work with the partners to ensure a smooth transition for the project.”
CMLC has a history of delivering best in class and award-winning projects for Calgary. As Event Centre development manager, CMLC brought this same attention and team to leading and guiding the Event Centre project over the past 20 months.
All parties are committed to moving forward to further the design and break ground on this major city-building project. It is anticipated that a development permit for the Event Centre will be submitted in early August to allow for a Q1 2022 groundbreaking. The transition of the project management and the finalization of the amended agreement will also take place over the coming weeks.
Once finalized, the amended agreement will be posted on calgary.ca/eventcentre, with all other City agreements related to this project.
The Event Centre, a priority capital project, showcases The City’s commitment to invest in Calgary’s future. It’s a vital project for bolstering our local economic development, our City’s arts and entertainment district , and foundational to inspiring a vibrant downtown.