Francesco Aquilini smiles during a press conference announcing his family's investment group buying half of the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 17, 2004. Aquilini has purchased several properties in downtown Moncton. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

A family of Vancouver billionaires has bought an acre of land from the Irvings in downtown Moncton, which is generating more questions about development plans in the city.

Aquilini Investment Group is a major developer in Vancouver. The Aquilini family, which is estimated to be worth $5 billion, already owns the Crowne Plaza hotel and now, they've just bought the whole city block around the downtown hotel.

The block includes the old YWCA building, the former SMT bus terminal and the parking lots that link the buildings.

The family also owns the Vancouver Canucks and the stadium the hockey team plays in, Rogers Arena.

The sale is good news for the city, which is still trying to figure out how it will build a downtown arena and entertainment complex.

Speculation has continued to mount in Moncton over what would replace the Highfield Square shopping centre after the facility’s managers announced last week that it would be closing.

Many in the area believe the downtown property would be ideal for a new sports and entertainment centre that has been actively discussed in the city in recent years.

However, the federal government has said it's not going to put any money into such a project.

As for the Aquilini's, no one from the family, or its investment group was available for an interview.

There are ongoing discussions surrounding the need for a new $100-million downtown facility that would replace the aging Moncton Coliseum.

Moncton officials have said in the past that a new centre would help attract bigger entertainment acts during winter months.

A consultant recommended building a 9,000-seat hockey rink in 2009. The coliseum's seating capacity is 7,200.

Another task force report, which was launched by the city, called for a downtown sports and entertainment complex.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats, the existing facility's main tenant, have complained about getting access to the coliseum, especially during the league’s playoffs.

There have also been complaints that the roof is too low at the coliseum, which limits the types of concerts that it can attract.