City, Flames open up on arena talks

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

CAL­GARY — The Cal­gary Flames and their city are tak­ing their ne­go­ti­a­tions pub­lic on a new NHL arena pro­jected to cost $555 mil­lion.

The city pro­posed pay­ing a one-third share of $185 mil­lion, with Cal­gary Sports and En­ter­tain­ment pay­ing an­other third and the re­main­ing third paid for via a sur­charge on tick­ets sold to events in the new build­ing. The Flames would get all rev­enues from the new arena, but the city wants CSEC to pay prop­erty tax on it.

“You’ll no­tice that even in this model CSEC gets 100 per cent of the rev­enues and prof­its from the arena,” Cal­gary Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi said Friday morn­ing at City Hall.

“There is profit here. Our ar­gu­ment is the city needs to some­how share in the up­side if we’re go­ing to share in the cost.”

Flames pres­i­dent Ken King con­tends the city’s pro­posal amounts to the team pay­ing the en­tire cost, or more, be­cause the team con­sid­ers a ticket sur­charge rev­enue that be­longs to them and be­cause they’d pay prop­erty tax.

“Their pro­posal has us not only pay­ing for ev­ery­thing, but more when you con­sider in­cre­men­tal taxes,” King said at a news con­fer­ence at the 34-yearold Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome.

“They want a win-win. We think us pay­ing 120 per cent of the project isn’t ex­actly that.

“If we ac­tu­ally did this deal, it would be worse than what we have now. We’d be bet­ter off to stay here.”

He said the Flames would make fi­nan­cial de­tails of their of­fer, and a blue­print for the build­ing, pub­lic next week.

King an­nounced Tues­day, on be­half of the Flames’ own­ers, they were halt­ing “spec­tac­u­larly un­pro­duc­tive” talks with the city on a new arena.

Nen­shi, who is run­ning for a third term in the Oct. 16 civic elec­tion, had said a day ear­lier that the arena was part of a vi­sion for a re­vi­tal­ized arts and en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict on the down­town’s east side.

“Of course it’s an elec­tion is­sue,” King said.

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