Edmonton gives go-ahead to talks on new downtown arena

EDMONTON — Edmonton city council has given the go-ahead to talks on a new downtown arena where the National Hockey League Oilers would play.

EDMONTON — Edmonton city council has given the go-ahead to talks on a new downtown arena where the National Hockey League Oilers would play.

Council spent most of the day Monday reviewing a report on ways to finance the arena that is being pushed by Oilers owner Daryl Katz.

The report suggests that if the Katz Group and the city agree, the city could fund up to $250 million of the arena’s $450-million cost.

It says the city could raise its share through a facility fee combined with a community revitalization tax.

The levy would require the city to borrow the money and then pay off that debt by increasing tax revenue — which would hopefully be generated by development around the arena.

Some councillors expressed concern about the tax because public consultations indicated most citizens were against it.

City council was to hold a public hearing Tuesday on Katz’s rezoning application for the proposed arena land

In the funding model outlined in the report, $100 million of the project’s cost would come from Katz. The remaining $100 million has yet to be financed. The city hopes to get some financial contribution from the federal and provincial governments, but council has yet to approach them.

Negotiations are likely to focus on details such as who would manage the arena, what would happen to revenue and whether Northlands, which runs Rexall Place where the Oilers now play, would get a role in the project.

City administrators are to come back to council March 2 with an update on the talks. (CTV Edmonton)