Third party tasked with reviving Calgary's arena deal named

Three people from Calgary’s commercial real estate sector have been hired to help the city push its arena deal forward, a council committee announced Wednesday.

3 people from the city’s real estate sector to recommend path forward

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is seen in this file photo.
The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is seen in 2020. On Wednesday, Calgary's event centre committee announced the third party that will be working with the city and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Three people from Calgary's commercial real estate sector have been recruited to help the city push its arena deal forward, it was announced Wednesday. 

The event centre committee — a council-appointed group created to line up a deal on building a modern arena complex to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome — announced who it had hired to act as a third party. 

Stuart Dalgleish, city general manager, planning and development, said the third party is composed of three men: 

  • John Fisher, executive vice-president at CBRE.
  • Guy Huntingford, director of strategic initiatives with NAIOP Calgary.
  • Phil Swift, executive chairman at Ayrshire Group.

Construction was supposed to start on the $600-million replacement arena in Victoria Park earlier this year. 

But last December, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she had been informed by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), which owns the Calgary Flames, that it would not be going ahead with the project.

The third party is tasked with making recommendations on a possible path forward, following a meeting with both CSEC and the city. Dalgleish said the three men report to city administration and are under a strict confidentiality agreement.

The nearly $600-million deal was first reached in 2019 between the city and CSEC. 

CSEC cited rising costs as the reason for the collapse of the agreement. The city and CSEC had spent approximately $25 million on preparations for construction of the arena.

There is no definitive timeline on a new arena agreement, Dalgleish said.