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New funding option for NHL-caliber arena in Toronto suburb

Sep 17, 2013, 1:36 PM EDT


There’s a new proposed financial framework to build an NHL-caliber rink in the Toronto suburb of Markham, according to the general partner of the project, GTA Sports & Entertainment.

From the press release:

This new option proposes that GTA Centre, LP would be responsible for funding all costs towards the construction of the GTA Centre above a maximum amount of $162.5 million, which the City of Markham would facilitate through receiving private sector developer contributions.

As a result of this new option for the financial framework, the City of Markham would no longer need to borrow $325 million — as in the original financial framework option that was approved by an 11-2 vote by City Council in April 2012 — and the GTA Centre would be 100% privately funded.

Two leading investment banking firms, Wall Street firm Jefferies LLC and Bay Street firm Canaccord Genuity have joined the GTA Centre team to support this new option.

Concerns were raised last year about the financial framework of the project. It was reported in August that the deal could be dead by September. Hence, the new proposed framework.

“We believe that our new option should be considered seriously by Council members,” said W. Graeme Roustan, Chairman and CEO, GTA Sports & Entertainment. “I have met with several private sector developers who support the GTA Centre and want to make financial contributions to the city towards its development. I am very confident that the City of Markham will come up with a satisfactory way to receive the contributions from the private sector developers.”

Roustan has claimed in the past that an NHL tenant is not required in order for the building to be profitable; however, if a new rink is indeed built, expect the expansion/relocation speculation to heat up again.

  1. pastabelly - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    The Leafs will not allow a team to move there unless they received a payment valued at 25% or more that franchise.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      The Leafs and every other team that think they can dictate such things are wrong. The league doesn’t need the Leafs or the Sabres permission.

  2. nj666 - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Eastern Conference is closed, we have too many teams already.

    • Jackson Scofield - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      Western Conference, Leafs played in it for a long time. Add Seattle to Pacific and Toronto2 to Central. Wish I knew how to fit Quebec in… unless we went to 36 teams (bad idea) with 3 conferences and a mixed bag playoff system.

  3. spydey629 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    I seem to remember articles on here over the summer stating that “TO2” / The Rakes / Team GTA would actually be a Western Conference team.

    Would work similar to the White Sox / Cubs, Mets / Yankees, or Jets / Giants — a guaratee that every team in the league would pass through the Toronto metro area multiple times.

    It does make at least a little bit of sense, and sets up the NFL-esque 8 divisions of 4 teams each set-up we’re all anticipating.

    • kaptaanamerica - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      If that happens Vancouver better be with Pacific / west coast teams and not stuck with the Alberta teams.

  4. channelguy - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    This was done to defuse opposition on Markham Council to funding an arena that might not get a team. It makes it a certainty the arena WILL be built providing the new partnership doesn’t fall apart.

    Getting the arena doesn’t guarantee a team. Hamilton found that out in the 1980s, building a quality arena for the time, which is now obsolete. Kansas City also built a quality arena, and didnt get a team. But downtown Hamilton, where the arena is, can be scary after dark, and KC failed once before with a team in the 70s. Markham is a good location in a can’t-miss market.

    The east-west balance issue is also bogus. The NHL is NOT going to pass by a franchise in a top market, with deep pockets ownership, for western cities with no arena, or a bad arena for hockey, in cities which might be good NHL markets, but also might not. The NHL’s interest is only in trying to prevent a team from MOVING to Markham (or Quebec City) so they can put an expansion team in and charge a fat EXPANSION FEE — which they can in those places, but which they can’t in any remaining market west of the Mississippi.

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