City, Flames open up on arena talks
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.