Edmonton set to break ground on Oilers arena in March, paying-for-it, schmaying-for-it

The city of Edmonton may still be between $50 million and $130 million short on being able to pay for a new Oilers arena, but that’s not going to stop them from breaking ground:

Edmonton’s downtown arena is on course to meet its $480-million construction cost and should be ready to start construction in March, city manager Simon Farbrother says.

“I would say we’re very close to the end,” he said Thursday.

It sounds like Oilers and city representatives have been working with contractors to ensure that the project won’t bust its $480 million budget ($605 million counting land and infrastructure), which would leave it just $50 million short, plus however much the city will end up needing to dig in its pockets for if the local Community Revitalization Levy (aka a Canadian TIF) only produces the amount of revenue the city expected in the first place, and not the amount it decided to project when it suddenly realized it had a funding hole to fill.

The city is apparently still hoping to apply to the province for funds for at least another $25 million — which has never worked before, but can’t hurt to keep asking, right? — but if it doesn’t get it, it can always shuffle some money around and figure it out later. Because that’s worked out so great elsewhere.

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6 comments on “Edmonton set to break ground on Oilers arena in March, paying-for-it, schmaying-for-it

  1. It seems to me this web page’s entire “rubber stamp disapproval analysis” is not truly based in objective reality.

    Definitely you’re right about expensive single-season facilities (such as those built to current NFL or MLB standards) not being net positive additions to cities in terms of dollars. However I haven’t seen any significant amount of research, let alone evidence from said research on year-round use that could possibly justify said “rubber stamp disapproval analysis”. Furthermore any number of observations do strongly indicate the potential of year-round facilities to help revive urban blighted zones, even including Watts, LA.

    The dichotomy between single-season facilities and year-round facilities deserves analysis at the very least. I don’t believe a conclusion based on one type automatically fits both.


  2. Jason: Here’s one such research paper showing that year-round facilities have no discernable economic impact:


    Actual paper here:


  3. Hi again Neil, I’ve accessed the report, but haven’t had a chance to go in-depth with it, but off the top I would say that what he is attempting to measure does not appear to be anything of interest in greater debate, and I’m not even convinced he has succeeded in measuring what he is attempting to measure.

    I’ll see if I can get through it later this week, but like I said before, I think we need more research before we would be able to draw a blanket over every single debate on any type of event venue. I do realise and observe that is the animous of this web-page, but respectfully I don’t think we need to be shy of objective facts.

  4. When you do get around to it, the included literature review references close to a dozen other studies showing similarly dismal results for year-round arenas.

    I’m never opposed to “objective facts,” though. Do you have some that show otherwise?

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