Manitoba

Selinger hosting stadium huddle

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger has called a press conference for 10 a.m. CT Wednesday at which time he's expected to discuss plans to build a new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger has called a press conference for 10 a.m. CT Wednesday at which time he's expected to discuss plans to build a new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team.

Speculation has been building about fast-tracking a new home for the CFL team after Selinger revealed the current stadium at Polo Park will soon need about $52 million in upgrades.

Talks with Winnipeg business magnate David Asper about stadium plans are ongoing, Selinger previously said.

Asper is currently trying to finalize a $135-million deal announced last year that would see him finance the bulk of the new stadium's cost and take ownership of the team.

Under the deal, Asper would come up with $100 million of the project's total funding. The federal government has pledged $15 million and the Manitoba government is putting up $20 million. 

The province would not comment on what the substance of Selinger's announcement would be, but a government source said there are no plans to scale back the previously announced  stadium deal.

Asper's proposal hinges on the successful development of a ritzy retail plaza at Polo Park.

The development, dubbed The Elms, would help finance the construction of a facility on an eight-hectare site on the University of Manitoba campus in south Winnipeg.

The stadium would have 30,000 permanent seats but be able to accommodate 45,000, and be covered by an inflatable dome in winter.

Asper had previously said he hoped to have shovels in the ground by October, but was granted a one-year extension on the deal in September. Asper said the sluggish economy was hampering his plans to find retailers for the development.

Asper, a former Blue Bombers board member, has been trying since September 2006 to buy the team. 

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