Edmonton downtown arena photos, video released

Edmonton city council is getting more details and images of the proposed downtown arena Wednesday.

Design still a 'blank canvas'

Edmonton city council is getting more details and images of the proposed downtown arena Wednesday.

Councillors were shown 360 Architecture's "fly-through" video revealing interior and exterior images of what the $450 million arena might look like.

"The shape of building has taken on abstractly the shape of an oil drop, we were also inspired by a lot of the snow drifts," said the project's architect.

But the design itself is still a "blank canvas," said Scott Ralston from 360 Architecture.

The centrepieces of the blank canvas will be the winter garden and the bowl itself. "We thought of the winter garden as an integrated piece of the arena," said Ralston.

The winter garden joins the arena with the southside of 104th Avenue.

Scott Ralston from 360 Architecture takes questions from reporters at Edmonton city hall on Wednesday. (CBC)

The arena will put fans closer to the action with 9,000 seats proposed for the lower bowl, he told councillors.

Mayor Stephen Mandel likes the design.

"I think it's a fascinating building," he said. "I'm not the one who believes that I have architectural talents to make decisions [on] what's good and what's bad. To me, it looks great."

It was also revealed on Wednesday that The Katz Group, developer of the arena district, is in the process of buying land currently occupied by the Greyhound bus station and a Staples retail store.

"That really reflects our level of excitement for what this project can be," said Bob Black, Katz Group executive vice-president.

"We're planning to create a dense urban development that is walkable, that's sustainable, that's connected. We think that there's tremendous opportunities having both sides of 103rd Street and creating a really great corridor down to Jasper Avenue, that's a vital connection from our point of view."

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel likes the new design. (CBC)

But funding for the project is still short $100 million. The province has yet to commit any money, but Mandel remains optimistic.

"I just believe that we'll do fine. We'll find ways to get the money from our provincial partners," he said.

The presentation kicks off a public consultation process, allowing Edmontonians to offer feedback in-person, online and over the phone.

Following the consultation, an updated design package will be given to council, which will make the final decision on the design of the new building.

The master agreement, which includes all the legal documents for the arena deal, will also go to council on July 4, before final approval can be given.

Construction of the arena is still scheduled to start in 2015.