CalgaryNEXT arena project could cost double what was expected

CEO of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation Ken King battled Bob McCown on Prime Time Sports over the benefits of the #CalgaryNEXT project that requires it to have public funding.

CALGARY — A Calgary city report says a proposal to bring a new NHL and CFL stadium to the city would likely cost much more than originally anticipated.

The city report, released Wednesday, says the CalgaryNEXT arena-and-stadium project could reach a price tag of $1.8 billion — with $1.3 on taxpayers’ shoulders.

The original estimated cost of $890 million was announced last August.

“Administration has come to the conclusion that CalgaryNEXT is not feasible in its present form or location,” the report reads.

The proposed sports complex would feature a 30,000-seat football stadium and 20,000-seat hockey arena and would be located on the west end of Calgary’s downtown, a site that will need to be decontaminated because it was once a creosote wood-treatment plant.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi released a statement Wednesday outlining “significant challenges” with the CalgaryNEXT proposal including the cost, proposed location and timeline based on the city report.

“I know many Calgarians are looking for a better arena space, but this is just one option,” Nenshi said in the statement, adding that City Council will discuss the report on Monday.

“We will make decisions on the recommendations at that time,” he said.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman urged the city to get moving on a new arena when he visited Calgary in January.

“The longer it takes, the harder the task becomes. CalgaryNEXT needs to happen and as part of the broader project, the Flames need a new arena,” Bettman said then.

The Scotiabank Saddledome, built in 1983, will be the oldest NHL arena next season.

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