Flames slam city offer on arena claim theyd incur all costs

first_imgIt didn’t take long for the Calgary Flames to respond Mayor Naheed Nenshi releasing the official details of the city’s offer for a new hockey arena Friday morning.Shortly after Nenshi spoke at City Hall, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation President and CEO Ken King said the city was asking for the team to foot the entire bill.“Their proposal has us not only paying for everything but more when you consider incremental taxes,” King said.The city offered to pay one-third of an estimated $555 million arena, which would be paid back over time through property taxes.Another third would be paid by a ticket surcharge and the final third by CSEC, with the Flames getting 100 per cent of revenues and ownership of the arena.Nenshi did say they were open to ownership options.“If it makes more sense for the city to own and for the owners to pay rent, we could absolutely look at that,” Nenshi said. “If it makes more sense for there not to be rent, but a revenue-sharing agreement, we can look at that.“There was one big philosophical issue that we had to sort out, which is do parties who engage in paying for it get anything out of it monetarily?”But King argues his side would be paying for everything, considering the payback for the city’s investment, while deeming the surcharge would be at their expense.“If we don’t give that $8 as the contribution from our revenue source to the building fund, then it’s coming to us, so it’s our money,” he said, adding he doesn’t think can see eye-to-eye with any part of the three-way split.King was asked why the team’s wealthy owners shouldn’t simply pay themselves.“It doesn’t work,” he said. “Nobody in Edmonton is sitting in that beautiful new Rogers Place unless the deal that they put through, which was fostered and driven and argued and debated for a long time, was going to happen in any other way and it’s not going to happen in any other way here either.”King also criticized the city for the way he saw the original CalgaryNEXT proposal considered, stating the city dismissed it as a “$1.8 billion boondoggle.”When asked if city money with no strings attached was absolutely necessary for a deal to get done, King didn’t give a yes or no answer but did promote the benefit of a community revitalization levy.The levy is a provincial loan, which is then repaid by the City through property taxes from new developments.“The payback is massive,” he said. “You invest money, you build things, the taxes that come from those things pay the city back more and more.”Taking a page out of Nenshi’s playbook, King said he will release details of the Flames offer next week.“I don’t know where it’s going to end, but it’s not going to end with the city proposal that you saw this morning, it won’t work,” he said.last_img