Event Centre Agreement Reached

The City of Calgary has reached agreements in principle with the Province of Alberta, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), and the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede to proceed with a significant phase of the Culture and Entertainment District in downtown Calgary.

It would be an understatement to say it was an easy road to get here. Past agreements with CSEC and the future of the Flames have fallen through. Citizens raised their voices expressing concern that the agreements proposed spending significant public dollars without significant public benefit.

It is my belief that today’s agreement meets this requirement for Ward 8, for the Downtown, and for Calgarians.

What’s in this deal?

We now have an agreement (in principle) for a new Event Centre that includes more than just an Event Centre. This comprehensive project features new transportation infrastructure that will support both the Green Line and the Culture and Entertainment District. The Project will also include indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, a community rink, and this agreement also covers costs related to demolition and land remediation.

The City will be supported by a new major investment from the Province, alongside significant support from our partners at the Calgary Stampede and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Group.

The City will receive land within the Culture & Entertainment District that can be better utilized for future development and projects, offsetting the municipal portion of the Event Centre costs.

Throughout the last few years, the team at the City has been tightly managing investments to ensure that we are in a strong fiscal position to drive forward four major projects: BMO Expansion, Arts Commons Transformation, the Multisport Fieldhouse, and now, the Event Centre.

This new agreement is predicated upon some strong fiscal principles that have left us without any need to take on debt, and one that will see a return on investment that, even in preliminary analysis, far outweighs our own contribution to the project.

This is different.

This time, the necessary partners are at the table, financially we are stronger than before, and the community will be stronger for it.

What is the City putting in, and what is it receiving for its investment?

The City of Calgary’s contribution is 44% of the total cost, with the Province of Alberta and CSEC contributing the remaining 56%. For every $1.00 invested by The City of Calgary, the Province and CSEC together will invest $1.28.

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede will support land exchanges and transactions to ensure the Culture and Entertainment District can grow and develop as planned in the Rivers District Master Plan.

Show me the numbers!

The City is investing $537.3 million to fund the development of the Event Centre, parking structure, the enclosed plaza, and 25% of the community rink.

CSEC is contributing:

  • $40 million upfront and $17 million per year (increasing 1% per year) over 35 years to offset Event Centre costs, parking, the enclosed plaza, and 25% of the community rink.
    • This amounts to $750+ million over the 35-year term.
  • $1.5 million per year to community sports
    • This amounts to $52.5 million over the 35-year term.

The Province of Alberta:

  • $330 million
    • $300 to fund transportation improvements, land, infrastructure and site enabling costs, including off-site and on-site utility servicing costs, public realm, and site clearing/demolition
    • $30 million to fund 50% of the community rink

Calgary Stampede:

  • Agreed to land sales and transfers that will allow for the development of the Event Centre and enable a vibrant entertainment district surrounding the Event Centre.

Why can’t we just keep the Saddledome?

The Saddledome, built for use in the ’88 Olympics, has extended its operational life but does not currently attract “A” class events like venues do in Edmonton and Vancouver. Calgary needs a modern facility alongside the investments being made in the Rivers District.

What’s next?

City Administration will begin formal discussions on definitive agreements with all parties, which is expected to be underway through spring and summer 2023. The project team is preparing to begin the design and development of the Event Centre, as well as the supporting infrastructure in the area.

Additional details are available on The City of Calgary’s website.


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