Katz Group holds open house on arena plans
Edmontonians got a somewhat of a closer look Thursday at the plans for a downtown arena and entertainment complex.
The Katz Group held an open house at the Art Gallery of Alberta to showcase conceptual drawings of the project.
There wasn't any information at the open house, however, on how the project will be funded; nor were there any architectural plans available for people to see.
The company, owned by Rexall Pharmacy CEO and Oilers' owner Daryl Katz, announced in April it had filed a rezoning application for the project.
The complex would be located on a 6.5-hectare site currently home to the Baccarat Casino and would replace the aging Rexall Place, where the NHL team plays now.
The project includes two proposed hotels and a casino east of the arena, a student residence, a small practice arena and an office tower/parkade to the west.
It also includes more apartments and an office tower around a plaza south of 104th Avenue, which would be linked to the arena by a walkway.
"The vision that we're relaying to Edmontonians today is an informed vision, but it's not a fixed one," said Bob Black, executive vice-president for sports and entertainment for the Katz Group, on Thursday.
Gail Hogel, who visited the open house, said she thinks the group has a great vision for the site.
"I think it would do wonderful things for downtown," Hogel told CBC News.
"With a winter garden plaza, tourists will want to go there, hockey fans will want to come, the LRT's going to be there, I think it's great."
Resident Andy Grabia, who also visited the open house, said he doesn't think the area will benefit the downtown.
Grabia said he was disappointed the Katz Group didn't tell the public who will be paying for the arena.
"The current dilemma facing Edmonton's downtown is density. And bringing people in and then having them leave is not the solution to that," Grabia said.
"You need space, you need housing, you need people to come downtown and stay downtown, not just come for the game, have a beer and leave. That doesn't solve the problem."