Canad Inns proposes domed stadium for Winnipeg

A second proposal for a new football stadium for Winnipeg has been put on the table, and this time it's for a domed stadium in the city's east end.

A second proposal for a new football stadium for Winnipeg has been put on the table, and this time it's for a domed stadium in the city's east end.

The Canad Inns hotel chain revealed Monday its plans for a $265-million stadium at the former Public Markets site in the St. Boniface industrial park, which Canad Inns recently purchased from the city.

The domed stadium would be part of a $500-million complex that would include a four-star hoteland an indoor water park.
Canad Inns has proposed a $256-million stadium, shown in the architect's rendering, at a vacant site in the St. Boniface area of Winnipeg. ((Number TEN Architectural Group))

"Our proposal provides the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a world-class dome facility that they will own," Canad Inns CEO Leo Ledohowski said Tuesday, noting an important part of the plan involves the current stadium site in the Polo Park area.

"We are taking the entire Maroon Roads site… which is without a doubt one of the most valuable pieces of commercial property in the city of Winnipeg, and turning it into a commercial development called Blue Bomber Plaza by Canad Inns, which will be self-financing," he said.

Theplans would allow the Blue Bombers to remain community-owned, said Ledohowski, whoestimated the plaza would bring in about $7 million per year for the team.

The Canad Inns proposalcallsfor a $40-million contribution from each of the the provincial and federal governments, as well as a 15-year tax break from the City of Winnipeg for the Blue Bomber Plaza.

Asper proposal:existing site

A competing proposal from David Asper calls for a new stadium to be built where the current 54-year-old Canad Inns Stadium now stands, with new retail stores.
David Asper proposed a $120-million stadium, shown in the architect's rendering, to replace the 54-year-old Canad Inns Stadium. (Raymond S.C. Wan) ((Raymond S.C. Wan))

The $120-million Asper stadium would be a semi-covered building with up to 40,000 permanent seats, a two-tier parking garage, and more retail and restaurant space.

Under that plan, Asper, executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications and a former Blue Bombers board member, would assume control of the CFL franchise — a move that could change ownership of the team from public to private hands.

Asper also said he would ask the federal and provincial governments for $40 million each in funding.He suggested he could also ask the city to donate the land upon which the stadium is currently sitting.

No comment: premier

Premier Gary Doer said he would not discuss the issue of public money becoming involved in stadium plans because he has not yet seen any formal requests.

"There's not negotiations when somebody puts out a press release that says, 'Give us millions and millions of dollars before we even see it or discuss it,'" he said.

"I just want people to know, next time they plan on putting out a proposal that [asks] for public money, we better— I'm a little surprised, quite frankly, that it wasn't proposed. We weren't even given a copy. I haven't seen that before."

Doer says the province's decision to put $13 million in provincial money into the MTS Centre, downtown Winnipeg's new hockey arena, came about after discussions and collaboration all along the process.

However, he said he will have an open mind about Ledohowski's proposal when he gets a copy of it.

In response to Asper's plan, Doer said in January that to contribute "any dime" to the project would require a guarantee that the team stayed in the community.