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Daryl Katz and his team met face-to-face with Mayor Stephen Mandel and councillors Wednesday afternoon at city hall. In addition to revealing that Katz is willing to add an additional $100 million towards the proposed arena development, councillors also learned that the organization has no desire to have the Oilers play in a "renovated Rexall Place."
For the first time, the Katz Group stood before council to present details about the widely discussed downtown arena district proposed for Edmonton. The Katz Group reiterated to councillors that Katz is prepared to put $100 million directly into a new downtown arena, as well as pledging another $100 million to the development of the area. Katz also said he's prepared to sign a location agreement as part of a new lease for a downtown arena that will keep the Oilers in Edmonton. Katz Group spokesperson John Karvellas did express that the organization has no desire to have the Oilers play in a "renovated Rexall Place."
Northlands first presented the idea of renovating the facility back in 2007 at a cost of $250 million, and recently said the renovation could cost closer to $200 million. Katz's chief financial officer, Paul Marcaccio pointed out to councillors that the Oilers are the only team in the league that doesn't obtain income from non-hockey related events held at their current rink. "Daryl Katz has had to subsidize the team by several million dollars in each of the past two years in order for the team to break even," Marcaccio told council. Marcaccio added that he believes under the team's current operating model at Rexall Place, the trend "will likely continue." "The team is also a business and like any business it needs a sound financial base in order to be sustainable, which today it is not," said Katz.
Katz reported that the Oilers made money only three out of the last ten years. He said his goal is to sustain the National Hockey League and the Edmonton Oilers in the city for the long term. Representatives from the Katz Group also proposed that the city borrow the bulk of the cash required to build the new arena, and pay the loan back with property taxes from neighbouring developments in the area. The cost to build the downtown arena is now estimated to cost $450 million, up $50 million from the original amount discussed by the Katz Group. The billionaire's $100 million would go towards the building.
The Katz Group, along with city administration, has suggested a ticket surcharge could generate an extra $135 million. And a Community Revitalization Levy for residents in the area could produce another $140 million. In the end, about $75 million would still have to be found. Council did ask Katz why he couldn't just build the proposed facility himself. But Bob Black, Katz Group executive VP, told councillors in other cities where arenas were paid for with private funding, they ended up losing money. "Four were built in Canada with private funding, three of those failed shortly after they were built and the developers of those buildings lost both the buildings and the teams," said Black.
Katz did insist to council that he is ready to rejuvenate Edmonton's downtown. "I'm an Edmontonian, born and raised. And I saw the arena as a means to create something really significant for this city's future," Katz told councillors. He also expressed his desire to see the Stanley Cup back in Edmonton. "It's no secret that I have a life long passion for the Oilers and would desperately love to see the Stanley Cup back in Edmonton but that's not why I bought the team," said Katz. Katz went on to elaborate that a new arena could be "a generational opportunity to do something transformative for the Oilers and the city."
The Katz Group did take some time to introduce Ted Tanner from AEG Worldwide, a sports entertainment and venue operator acting as consultants in the proposed projects. A presentation was shown to councillors detailing some of the revitalization projects AEG Worldwide has on its resume. Mandel did pose the question to AEG, asking how they saw their role in the proposed project. AEG says at the current time, it's advising the Katz Group on real estate development.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.