The $115 million plan for a new Winnipeg Blue Bombers football stadium — already saddled with a controversial public “loan” to developer David Asper that could turn out to be more of a grant — has new problems. Namely, that that $115 million price tag has turned into $160 million, and nobody has a clue where the extra money will come from:
Sources say the price is more than $160 million and the stakeholders are now huddling to determine what comes next. The project will require extra money or the design could be altered to make the stadium fit the $115-million budget used to put together the existing funding package. There is concern the project is in danger of being scrapped altogether.
Asper agreed to pay for all cost overruns, but now says overruns should be calculated only after the “final price” is determined. (This is reminiscent of the time the Seattle Mariners owners insisted that they didn’t have to pay for cost overruns on Safeco Field because they were not overruns, but rather “unanticipated capital expenditures”; the team lost in court.) If the final cost estimate — which, mind you, is being made by Asper’s own development firm, Creswin Properties — comes in at more than $115 million, Asper tells the Winnipeg Free Press, “choices will have to be made.”
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz says he and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger will make a decision on how to proceed in the next four or five days. This could get very ugly very fast.