Downtown plan not definite: Oilers owner
In his first media interview since summer 2008, aired Thursday, the Oilers owner said he was happy with the presentation made Tuesday by the executive vice-president of sports and entertainment for the Katz Group, Bob Black.
That presentation included images of a a downtown entertainment and commercial district, with two hotels, student residences and a public space, dubbed the "Winter Garden," surrounding a city-owned arena.
The Katz Group and its partners would finance the surrounding development, Black said Tuesday, worth an estimated $1 billion.
"Our contribution in that regard can best be leveraged in facilitating a tax base that can assist the city in paying for the arena over a long period of time." said Katz. "And yeah, to be frank, creating an annuity by way of tax base in perpetuity to the city."
Katz echoed his vice-president's comment about this being a "once-in-a-generation opportunity."
"Funding of a new arena is a complex matter, OK, and I've said consistently that I'd contribute in the order of $100 million towards the development of a new arena," Katz said.
"Precisely how and in what context the 100 million is to be contributed depends on a variety of issues, the most important of which is who owns the arena."
Council needs a formal application
Mayor Stephen Mandel said that financial commitment is about the only thing that's certain when it comes to a new arena.
"That's where we stand right now," said Mandel. "If there's a different proposal, then I think he has to send it forward to administration in a process which we can review as a city council."
Mandel expressed frustration that the discussion is being fuelled by reports in the media, rather than hard information presented to council.
"I think that's the issue is that city council, as an entity, needs to see an application, and once we see an application and it's going through our process, then we can evaluate it."