Demolishing Coliseum could cost up to $25M, city report says

Demolishing Edmonton's iconic Northlands Coliseum could cost up to $25 million, the city says in a report going to council on Tuesday.

Council will get update on Northlands site at Tuesday meeting

The former home to the Edmonton Oilers was closed December, 2017. Since then the city has been working on a redevelopment plan for the surrounding area. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)

Demolishing Edmonton's iconic Northlands Coliseum could cost up to $25 million, the city says in a report going to council Tuesday.

In September, Northlands estimated the cost at $8 million.

The report from city administrators says the demolition cost could range between $15 million and $25 million.

"Fifteen to 25 is really high-level," said Linda Cochrane, city manager. "We haven't done the analysis on the building to the extent that we would want to do before we give an accurate cost to council.

City Manager Linda Cochrane. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

The Coliseum, formerly known as Rexall Place, will permanently close on Jan. 1.

Not everyone sees the demolition of the Coliseum as inevitable.

"I've been pretty clear. I don't want to see the building come down. That's my primary concern," said Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickel.

"I think we can repurpose it if we put our minds to it. I think the province, if we put something intelligent in front of them, they might be interested as well."

On Jan. 1 the city will become responsible for the coliseum and the land surrounding it north of 118th Avenue. The land south of 118th Avenue, which includes the Expo Centre, will become the responsibility of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC).

But Northlands Park, which includes the horse-racing track, will continue to be run by Northlands until the fall of 2018, when the racing season ends.

The report recommends the operating budget for EEDC be increased by $5 million so it can purchase Expo Centre's furnishings.

The report says the city is working to limit the number of jobs lost by connecting affected employees with future employment related to the Northlands site.

Until the future of the property north of 118th Avenue is determined, the report says, the city should look at interim uses.

Repurposing the land surrounding the Coliseum will allow the site to remain viable and active in the meantime, Cochrane said, suggesting bringing in "more programs and potential small activities and festivals or small farmer's markets — that type of thing."

An area redevelopment plan will identify short, medium and long-term uses for the site.

Northlands, a non-profit organization that was previously responsible for the site, wouldn't be out of the picture in the report's proposed plan. It would continue to operate K-Days and Farmfair International for five years.




Travis McEwan

Video journalist

Travis McEwan is a video journalist who covers stories ranging from human interest and sports to municipal and provincial issues. Originally from Churchill, Man., Travis has spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton reporting for web, radio and television. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca.