City negotiating cost sharing for Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District

The contract should be awarded soon for site preparation at the Kingsway Entertainment District. Along with the city, the other partners are developer Dario Zulich and Gateway Casinos.

Sudbury's manager of community development provided city council with latest details on project

The future Kingsway Entertainment District would include a community arena, a Gateway casino and a hotel. This conceptual drawing shows what the area would look like once completed. (Supplied/City of Greater Sudbury)

The work, at what is to become the future Kingsway Entertainment District in Greater Sudbury is moving forward.

On Tuesday, city council reaffirmed it was still interested in pursuing the project.

At the same meeting, the general manager of community development, Catherine Matheson, provided an update on the project.

Seven contractors have submitted bids for the tender for site preparation or grading work, on the property, which is on the Kingsway near Levesque Street.
Catherine Matheson is the general manager of community development for the City of Greater Sudbury. (Supplied- Catherine Matheson)

Matheson told city council that that contract has not been awarded yet, however she listed the price tag at $8.5 million. That is the lowest amount that came in from bidders.

Matheson says no money has been paid out from public coffers, because the partners are still ironing out a comprehensive cost sharing agreement.

"We are in the process in the negotiations for the cost sharing agreement related to that $8.5 million, plus we are looking at a cost sharing on the future operating costs, etc," she said.

"Our share would be what our value is determined to be in the negotiations, and each other party would have their share as well, so we share that cost," she added.

Conceptual drawing of the future Kingsway Entertainment District in the east end of Greater Sudbury. The area would include a community arena, a casino and a hotel. (Supplied/City of Greater Sudbury)

Councillor Mark Signoretti wondered why the project was proceeding despite appeals before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

"I don't think we should be spending any of taxpayers money on this project. If the developer wants to take all the risk then let him assume the risk, or let them assume the risk," he said.

The hearing for the appeals is scheduled for November.

Matheson is confident the Kingsway project will still go ahead, and says the other partners are still interested despite the LPAT hurdles.

"All parties are coming into the project with an investment of funds."

"The private sector is no different, in some respects, to the public sector. They calculate their risks as we calculate our risks. There's private money going into this knowing full well that there is an appeal going on," she said.

"They're willingly at the table moving forward and have calculated their risks, and continue to invest and move this project forward."

Matheson says they're not waiting for the LPAT decision since it would mean falling behind in the deadline for the project.

Clarification: A previous version of this story stated that Hilton Hotels was to be a partner on the Kingsway Entertainment District Project. Since the publication of this story, a spokesperson representing Hilton hotels said the chain does not currently have plans to be involved in the project. The city has since clarified that there are three partners within the cost sharing agreement for the project, the city, the developer and Gateway Casinos. The hotel's capital contribution to the site development is represented by the developer and is the responsibility of the developer. At this point, the city has received a letter of interest from Hilton Worldwide.

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With files from Angela Gemmill