Details are unveiled regarding stadium proposed for city of Halifax

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) unveiled details of a CFL stadium proposal for Halifax on Thursday.

According to the proposal, the first phase would cost about $94 million, with an additional $10 million for the cost of the land. The stadium would be located in Shannon Park and have 12,000 permanent seats but could be expanded to 24,000 for CFL games on a 38-hectare area.

HRM released the latest proposal, received Sept. 17, to the public “in the interest of transparency.”

Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) is the group looking to secure a CFL franchise for Halifax. SSE co-founder Anthony LeBlanc has said the expectation is for the Atlantic Schooners to be ready to play in 2021 in Moncton, N.B., while a new stadium is being built in Halifax.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has said a stadium remains the biggest challenge in the Schooners becoming the league’s 10th franchise.

The venue would be used for football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and other sports, in partnership with Sport Nova Scotia when not being used by the CFL. An inflatable dome would be put up in the winter.

Five options are outlined in the proposal regarding municipality funding of the project: They include:

— HRM committing $2 million annually to the lender with SSE paying $1 million and a ticket surcharge capped at $10 per ticket on all tickets sold for events.

— A payment of $15 to $20 million, 15 to 20 per cent of the project cost, from HRM.

— Payments for 25 per cent of the project, totalling about $25 million, over a period of time from HRM.

— HRM being the loan guarantor and the municipality having to “pay such shortfalls on an annual basis based on the guaranteed percentage.”

— Annual HRM cash payments not covered by the province or SSE.

LeBlanc feels the best of the five options is the first.

“The nice thing that it does is it addresses the concern of people who say, ‘Hey, I don’t want this because I’m never going to use it,’” LeBlanc said. “The people who will be paying for it will be the people who are going to the events in the stadium.

“We really like it and think it’s an elegant solution. From our perspective this pretty much de-risks the investment from HRM as much as possible and we expect it would certainly be to the point where that $2 million is more than covered between our payment and the surcharge.”

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