Markham considers 20,000 seat arena

The town of Markham will consider a proposal on Friday to build a $325 million sports and entertainment complex that would seat 20,000 people.

Some think could be home to NHL franchise

Markham is building a new arena, but will it draw an NHL team? 2:14

 The town of Markham is going to consider a proposal to build a 20,000 seat arena.

The $325 million facility would be a new entertainment centre for the GTA — but it could also be an inducement for a second NHL team in the region. 

Right now, there's just a field beside the Unionville Go station but if supporters get their way the arena will take shape on the north side of Highway 407, between Warden Avenue and Kennedy Road.

Markham residents Neil Brian and Tanvir Sayed are giddy at the thought of an arena the size of the Air Canada Centre in their town.

"I think it would be pretty cool," said Brian.  "I think it's a great idea," said Sayed.

Sayed has heard the buzz about what the new arena might bring.

"I heard about it a could months ago," he said. "I think they are talking about an NHL hockey team right?"

But Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti is playing down the suggestion of an NHL franchise for his town.

"I am not pursuing an NHL team," said Scarpitti, "municipalities don't do that."

The mayor says the focus is on an entertainment complex, but if an NHL comes knocking, the door is open.

"We are pursuing an arena here — and it's certainly needed in the GTA — and if it fosters other opportunities, it fosters other opportunities."

Details are scarce but some of the financing should be revealed when Markham councillors will discuss the project at a public meeting on Friday.

"This is being done in a way where we are not using property taxes to contribute to the capital cost of this facility,  so I can say that much," said Scarpitti.

The proposal expected to come before the full council on Thursday, April 26. If council approves the proposal construction could begin later this year