The first visual sign that an arena is about to be built in downtown Edmonton went up at the site today.

Staff from the Oilers and the city were on hand to mark the event at the corner of 104th Street and 104th Avenue.

"It's a sign that says it's going to be a major development in this site," Mayor Stephen Mandel said. "It's a magnificent looking building and this will depict it. It's going to be very special."

Mandel says Edmonton's downtown has been left to deteriorate in the past and he believes the arena will transform the city centre.

Condo developments and other businesses are already setting up in the area to bring a new vibrancy and quality of life to the downtown, he said.

Construction on the arena is expected to start in spring 2014.