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Old 10-06-2017, 07:24 PM   #15
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Join Date: May 2004
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CSEC is eyeing more than an arena

The partnership that owns the Calgary Flames proposed a deal for a new arena that would give the private company a chance to transform into the real estate developer for a potentially lucrative new community, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (CSEC), which owns the Flames and other sports teams, made its first arena offer to the city in a letter and two-page list of terms Feb. 21. The documents provide a glimpse of the club's vision for a complex more extensive than just an arena.

As part of the proposal, the Flames' owners insisted on receiving an option to buy and develop land near the events complex, a slice of the Stampede Casino's revenue, all parking revenue from major events it would manage at the events complex and other goodies. The demands included the city of Calgary covering the cost of flood insurance, reimbursing the club for all provincial property taxes that may be imposed on the facilities, and requiring local ratepayers to pick up the bill for a public gathering place suitable for festivals next to the arena.

The documents underscore how the multimillion-dollar arena negotiations are – for both camps – about far more than a concrete structure in Victoria Park, an underdeveloped zone east of Calgary's downtown.

If Calgary acquiesced to the terms, for example, it would give some of Canada's wealthiest men business opportunities in part thanks to financial support from taxpayers. Further, some of the sticking points would affect the Calgary Stampede's balance sheet. The Stampede, which hosts the city's famous 10-day festival and other events, is a not-for-profit organization and parking and gambling revenue are important to its operation.

"Our proposals in the enclosed term sheet outline the minimum requirements for a robust competitive sports environment and the infrastructure needed to compete on the world stage from an entertainment perspective," Ken King, president of CSEC, said in the letter.

Any deal that is "not consistent" with the Flames' demands would be "a disappointment and would create an untenable environment," Mr. King wrote. The city rejected the deal.

The Flames and city bureaucrats continued negotiations after the February offer. Naheed Nenshi, who is campaigning for his third term as mayor, in a news conference last month said the Flames' subsequent pitch was "not particularly different" than the first.

Mr. King, in an interview on Friday, disagreed.

"The process evolved and we ended up in quite a bit different place than where we started," he said, declining to say what changed because negotiations are over. "It is quite academic what, if any, the difference was."
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