Arena supporters optimistic following Friday meeting
Supporters of a downtown arena for Edmonton are feeling optimistic following a meeting between city officials, the Katz Group and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman late last week.
The meeting was held Friday as city councillors prepare for an update on the project Wednesday.
"There was a meeting Friday and it was positive and I'm assuming we'll get details on Wednesday," said councillor Bryan Anderson.
It’s been a rocky year for arena negotiations. Council approved a framework for the deal in 2011, but negotiations fell apart after councillors balked at additional demands from the Katz Group, including an annual $6 million operating subsidy.
Councillors suspended negotiations in October 2012, but talks restarted late in the year after the Katz Group dropped the subsidy request..
Oilers president and CEO Patrick LaForge hinted that the city and the Katz Group have smoothed over some of the other sticking points in negotiations.
"I would say that the meeting was positive," Laforge said. "The people I talked to said it went very well. There's a lot of work left to be done but you know it's moved in the right direction."
Mayor Stephen Mandel wouldn’t comment on what was discussed at the meeting but said more details would be available on Wednesday.