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Markham arena project dead?

Dec 5, 2013, 11:29 AM EDT


From the Canadian Press:

City council in Markham, Ont., voted 11-2 Wednesday night against using any public funds to build an NHL-sized arena.

The vote effectively kills a proposed financial framework with businessman Graham Roustan, the CEO of GTA Sports and Entertainment.

The proposed plan was to have Roustan’s company put up half of the cost, $162.5 million, for a 20,000 set arena while the city would cover the other half.

But it’s not quite the end of the story, according to the Markham Economist & Sun:

An amendment that gave GTA Sports & Entertainment  or, notably, any other private partners six months to come forward with proof of funds for the full $325-million to finance the project was carried in a vote of 12-1…

The proposed arena — with no guarantee of an NHL tenant — has been a highly controversial topic in the Toronto suburb, with some in the media, as well as local residents, coming down hard on the project, in particular the financial framework of the project.

From the Globe and Mail:

Roustan can still pursue an arena deal, but without any financial guarantees from the city, his proposed GTA Centre is on life support. However, he said he can still come up with $162.5-million and hopes the anonymous developers who were part of the second MOU or other private investors can provide the rest.

But, he admitted, if no other investors surface in six months “yeah, it’s over. It’s always been that way.

Related: Bettman mum on expansion, but Quebec City makes too much sense

  1. ikillchicken - Dec 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Not surprised. I’m not opposed to another team in Ontario but they’ve gotta know they’re like…3rd or 4th on the list. If the NHL expands or relocates they’re going to favor a western city to help balance the divisions. Portland seems like the front runner since they already have an arena which means a move could happen right now instead of in several years time. Seattle is also a strong possibility. In fact, they’ve basically confirmed that it was the plan B if keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix fell through. And they at least have Key arena as a temporary home until something else gets built which would let them move forward for the 2014/2015 season. And if they do decide to add another team out east I think it will be Quebec City before anyone else. Their arena plan is already in motion and you know they’re going to make one heck of a bid if it means bringing back the Nordiques. So yeah, building an arena is a very dubious proposition. There’s a pretty good chance they wouldn’t get an NHL team to fill it.

  2. pavelfitzgerald - Dec 6, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Quebec is #1 on that list. The only way they aren’t is if the NHL really wants to push American expansion into new markets in which case it’s Seattle then Quebec City (the NHL knows that Quebec City will wait patiently like True North did with the Jets). I think Seattle will be a great spot & not a gongshow like Phoenix.

    You could also make an arguement that Kansas City & Las Vegas are ahead of Portland. I honestly think Vegas is a dumb idea but Bettman seems to like the idea (ala Phoenix)

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