The City of Edmonton released new images of a proposed downtown arena on Wednesday.

The images show a design open to daylight with a tall pedway over 104th Avenue that drops down to a new public square.

"It's very modern," said Rick Daviss, the city's executive director for the arena district project. "It's curvilinear, it's free flowing. I think that helps soften the hard edges. It is going to be a fairly significant building."

Mayor Stephen Mandel withheld his opinion on the images until he saw more detailed drawings.

"The proof is in the details," he said. "This is an eclectic abstract picture of something."

The city describes the pictures as part of preliminary design work, a starting point for evaluating options for building amenities and construction feasibility.

The design work and images will continue to evolve as the city gathers input from the public, the architect, the project manager and the Katz Group, the arena proponent.

One concept that's already changed significantly from previous drawings is the Wintergarden mall which rises over 104th Avenue leading into the arena.

The original plan left the avenue a dark tunnel, said Daviss. This time around the mall is more narrow, with higher floor and ceilings and drops down quickly to a pedestrian level south of the avenue, he said.

City council will get more information and images on May 16th before starting a public consultation process, allowing people to give feedback in-person, online and over the phone.

Following the consultation, an updated design package will return to council, which will make the final decision on the design of the new building.

The $30 million for design work is included in the overall building budget of $450 million.

Construction is still scheduled to start in 2015, Daviss said.