The following is the project update from Manitoba Entertainment Complex Inc., as at April 1995, which represented their work so far in an attempt to build a new arena that would keep the Jets in Winnipeg.
Manitoba Entertainment Complex Inc.
MANITOBA ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX
AT THE PORTAGE EAST SITE
This Project Update provides information about the proposed Manitoba Entertainment Complex facility and the Portage East site to assist public consultation activities. It reflects results of MEC's work to date and the design adopted for the purpose of project pricing work to be completed during April 1995.
Manitoba Entertainment Complex Inc. (MEC) is a non-share, not-for-profit corporation. Together with the three levels of government, MEC has been working since the summer of 1994 to establish a multipurpose, downtown entertainment and sports complex with the Winnipeg Jets as a prime tenant.
MEC's seventy members include Manitoba business and community leaders who have volunteered their time, resources and expertise to make the proposed entertainment complex project a reality.
MEC's work plan schedule is dictated by the May 1, 1995 option deadline to purchase the majority owners' 64% interest in the Jets, and the summer 1995 construction start deadline required for the facility to open in September 1997.
By the end of January 1995, MEC had carried out extensive feasibility work, including a highly-successful marketing program that confirmed corporate and business support for premium seating in the proposed facility. This Stage 1 work indicated a solid base for proceeding with the Stage 2 design, costing, consultation and other related work required to secure various approvals and a Final Guaranteed Maximum Price for the facility at the Portage East site before the end of April 1995.
Participants to Date
Facility design is being provided by the construction manager, Dominion Hunt who has retained Smith Carter Architects & Engineers Inc., to work with Sink Combs Dethlefs, entertainment facility designers. Review of this work has been provided primarily by MEC's Building Committee, representatives of the Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation; by external consultants retained to provide owners' representative advisory services (Cochrane-SNC-Lavalin/PBK), and by external professionals (Spectacor Management Group), retained to review facility operational and management issues.
DS-Lea Consultants Ltd. has addressed site planning issues and requirements, including removal of the existing hydro substation, municipal utility and service requirements (including flood protection), site acquisition, vehicle and pedestrian traffic (including parking and transit), and development approval requirements.
Various specialists are assisting with assessing specific archaeological resource impacts, wind-related impacts, soil tests and other matters.
Cohlmeyer Associates has assisted MEC and The Forks Renewal Corporation with site development planning issues relevant to both MEC and The Forks Renewal Corporation.
Together with the City, The Forks Renewal Corporation and others, MEC has participated in ongoing work by the City's Implementation Committee established to prepare an integrated plan for the whole Forks area, should the facility be built at the Portage East location.
Initial consultation has also taken place with the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) and representatives of various aboriginal organizations. Further consultation with these and other groups is planned for the first two weeks of April.
THE PORTAGE EAST SITE
The Portage East site is located on the eastern edge of Winnipeg's downtown zoning jurisdiction, between the CN track high line and the Red River, in an area directly southeast of the Portage and Main commercial district.
Plan Winnipeg, the Mauro Report and CentrePlan all state a downtown location is preferred for development of any major new entertainment facility with public amenities.
A parcel of 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) is proposed for the facility site. The parcel is located north of Pioneer and Water Avenues, west of riverfront property owned by The Forks Renewal Corporation, and south and east of CN property which includes the CN high line track. The parcel is currently City of Winnipeg property with the exception of a small triangle of CN land abutting the east side of the present Mill Street. The site will require closure of the affected portions of Mill Street and Thistle Lane.
Service and loading access will be permanently provided from Mill Street. Pedestrian access rights will be secured from Westbrook Street, over City lands, and through the present Thistle Lane underpass below the CN track high line. Pedestrian access rights will also be secured over CN and The Forks Renewal Corporation lands to the northeast area of the parcel.
Plans call for the City to retain ownership and control of the Thistle Lane lands between Westbrook Street and the site parcel, as well as the old Codville site adjacent to the east side of Westbrook Street.
The City may consider these lands for a major proposed transit corridor adjacent to the CN tracks. Interim development on these lands should be planned to facilitate weatherprotected pedestrian access to the facility site.
Separate access rights will be required for a pedestrian skywalk connection over Pioneer Avenue.
No parking structures will be developed on the facility site.
The facility's plans will allow future development of a local road linking Pioneer Boulevard and Lombard Avenue by the City and/or The Forks Renewal Corporation. This assumes any such road would be located generally along the eastern edge of the facility site and would provide public access to both the facility and The Forks Renewal Corporation lands.
Site property will be leased or purchased, as required, by a nontaxable community organization which will own the facility. MEC's business plan will identify a community organization acceptable to the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba.
Current Land Use
Current land use on the site includes City streets, surface parking and the defunct Winnipeg Hydro Mill Street substation. Prior to MEC consideration of the site, the City of Winnipeg planned to abandon and demolish the substation. Prior to May 1, 1995, Winnipeg Hydro will terminate all activities on this site.
The existing 69 kilovolt interconnection with Manitoba Hydro has now been relocated to an area on The Forks Renewal Corporation's lands immediately south of the CN high line. All other transmission facilities have been, or are being, removed from the site and the adjacent riverfront lands.
The Forks Renewal Corporation property to the east of the site is undeveloped lands formerly used for CN rail tracks, and undeveloped riverbank property with a timber-crib dike and walkway. The dike isolates the site visually and physically from the river's edge.
Adjacent City property south of Pioneer Avenue remains generally undeveloped after earlier demolition and clearing of buildings and rail facilities. The one remaining building between Pioneer Avenue and Water Avenue is currently used as a Social Services Department Centre. Surface parking exists and the Red River Exhibition has recently used this City property, on a temporary basis, for a summer midway.
Site area (in white) for proposed entertainment complex viewed from the south. The site is just east of the Downtown commerical district and west of the Red River.
Prior to current land uses, early industrial, commercial, residential and other human activities adjacent to the Red River were located here. The entire area is expected to contain archaeological resources from these earlier industrial activities. In particular, evidence of previous sawmill operations (e.g., sawdust layers, milled wood fragments and manure) is expected near the east and southeast corners of the site, outside the footprint of the proposed facility.
As with any previously undisturbed location in Winnipeg within one-half to one kilometre of the Red or Assiniboine River, the northwestern portion of the site may contain some fur trade and pre-European contact archaeological horizons. Available archival evidence indicates prior developments such as basements, sewer lines, and water mains, may have disturbed as much as one-third of the subsurface area.
A review by Quarternary Consultants Limited, indicates this project at the Portage East site will have minimal effects on any potential archaeologically-related heritage resources. This review was based on the proposed design, which places the facility at, or above, ground level, and archival evidence of past sub-surface disturbances.
The building foundation will generally rest on piles driven to bedrock, causing minimal disturbance to any existing archaeological resources.
The property site is not known to have been sacred ground or a consecrated cemetry for Aboriginal or early Red River Colony residents.
A qualified archaeologist will monitor any excavation work for site services, and pre-bored pilings.
On March 9, 1995, after review of relevant evidence, the City's Historical Building Committee rejected an application to have the existing Winnipeg Hydro substation buildings listed by the City as historical buildings. This allows for demolition of these buildings.
Surface and Groundwater
The facility is separated from the Red River by property owned by The Forks Renewal Corporation. The existing dike system and any future modifications would prevent surface runoff towards the Red River, Most surface drainage will be directed to a new land drainage sewer proposed for Water Avenue. The rest will be handled by the existing drainage system or modifications to it.
The site is overlaid by alluvial deposits relatively impervious to surface runoff. The water level in the bedrock was found to be approximately seven metres (23 feet) below the ground surface. The facility will not affect the groundwater.
Environmental Site Investigation
An environmental investigation of the site (a former hydroelectric generating station and more recently used as a Winnipeg Hydro substation) did not identify any major environmental concerns. However, investigations identified some non-PCB hydrocarbon contamination of the soil. Contamination appeared to be confined to a relatively small area and recommendations have been made for removal of contaminated soil, along with removal of asbestos pipe insulation, lead paint and fluorescent light fixtures (which may contain PCB ballasts) from inside the building during demolition.
Site viewed to northeast, is contained within the arc of CN High Line track and is now dominated by the defunct Winnipeg Hydro substation and surface parking areas.
Adjacent CN High Line Track
The adjacent high line accommodates CN's main rail line through Winnipeg, and therefore carries a large traffic volume.
CN has requested any new development, other than pedestrian or other tunnel access under the high line, stay outside of CN's 30.5 m (100 ft.) wide right-of-way. The high line structure is centred in the right-of-way, leaving approximately 9.8 m (32 ft.) clear on either side. The site property complies with this request.
Transport Canada's building setback requirement from a rail line is a minimum of 3 m (10 ft.) from the track. The site property is well outside the minimum setback.
The building design and the pedestrian tunnel under the Thistle Lane bridge will include features or clearances intended to discourage pedestrians from climbing onto the high line track structure. These particular features are required to discourage pedestrians using the rail bridge to gain access to the building from across the Red River. Any tunnel roof under the high line must also be designed to withstand the possible impact of any material dislodged by trains or crews working on the high line.
CN records show no accounts of derailments or train accidents in this section of the track. Possible derailment and accident risks along this section are considered minimal by both CN and Transport Canada because of the low speed limit (32 km/h or 20 m.p.h.) and the special track design ("Jordan guard rails", a second set of rails placed inside the normal rails).
Traffic studies show the downtown street system is more than adequate to accommodate traffic generated by the facility, and no new roads or road system expansions are required to meet project requirements.
Prior to building opening, traffic management plans will be developed to manage parking, transit and other event-related impacts on local streets, at The Forks, in the Exchange District, and in neighbouring areas in St. Boniface.
The project will improve pedestrian access from the Portage and Main office district and the Exchange District, to areas east and south of the CN track high line, including The Forks.
Private-sector interests in the Portage and Main area will develop weather-protected pedestrian access to the east side of Westbrook from the current underground concourse at Portage and Main.
A proposed pedestrian connection over Pioneer Avenue, as well as protected extensions of this connection to the building's main northwest entrance area, would enhance neigbourhood access even when public events are not being held.
The City's Implementation Committee is assessing strategies to enhance overall protected ground-level pedestrian access throughout the area, including access between Westbrook and the facility, as well as access around the building's north, south and east sides.
DS-Lea Consultants have evaluated for municipal service requirements at the facility site, including streets and transit, water, wastewater, land drainage and electric service. For the most part, existing services are available to accommodate the facility, but minor upgrading will be required. City of Winnipeg plans, programs and commitments already require upgrades for many of the services in this area. Detailed assessment is required to determine which municipal upgrades are required, in any event, regardless of the nature of development in the area.
East Yard Area Concept Plan
The site is located within the broad East Yard Area where The Forks Renewal Corporation maintains responsibility for coordinating redevelopment.
Based on past agreements involving CN, the City and The Forks Renewal Corporation, the City has undertaken not to permit any development to occur on the site if such development would be inconsistent with those parts of the Concept Plan (as defined in the October 31, 1987 Land Exchange Agreement between The Forks Renewal Corporation and CN) which apply to the lands previously owned by CN.
The facility meets a number of objectives outlined in The Forks Concept Plan. For example, the facility will add to winter use of the site and encourage year-round activity.
Current images of the area proposed for the facility are largely negative. The site now contains surface parking lots, railroad cinders, an electrical substation, transmission towers, and an undeveloped riverbank. Poor lighting, a flood protection dike, and non-pedestrian roadways restricting both views and access to the river, creates safety concerns.
There is a clear challenge to transform this unique but difficult site into a people place compatible within its context. The site's historic use as an industrial area merits recognition. Today, the site can become an important meeting place linking the Exchange District, the Portage and Main commercial area, The Forks, and St. Boniface.
MEC is working with The Forks Renewal Corporation and the Implementation Committee to prepare an integrated plan for the whole Forks area that protects public amenities of The Forks and complements the downtown, should an entertainment complex be built at the Portage East location.
THE PROPOSED ENTERTAINMENT FACILITY
The entertainment facility will be developed entirely on property to be leased or acquired for the project.
The building will provide all support functions, directly related to the entertainment complex, within site boundaries. Loading and service areas will be located on the building's north side. Surface-related loading or parking activities in this area may be expanded slightly beyond the site through lease arrangements of existing surface parking areas owned by CN under the high line.
Potential exists for a range of alternative developments to occur on adjacent lands owned by The Forks Renewal Corporation and the City. Building design has sought to anticipate possibile future developments on adjacent lands proposed by The Forks Renewal Corporation or the City. Development of the facility in general enhances such prospects. However, in the future, feasibility and impact assessment must be completed as required for each proposal on these adjacent lands.
Events and Uses
The Entertainment Complex will he a modem facility, capable of hosting a wide variety of events in a comfortable, pleasant environment. The Winnipeg Jets hockey team will be an anchor tenant, with their administrative and ticket offices located in the facility. Besides hockey, the facility will accommodate figure skating, curling, basketball, arena football, boxing, wrestling, indoor soccer, individual speakers, family shows and concerts.
For planning purposes, annual attendance is projected at 1,025,500, based on 115 events, including 45 hockey games, 3 major concerts, 9 minor concerts, 28 family shows, and 30 other events. Future management will work to surpass these projections for both the number and range of events.
The facility will include approximately 47,000 square metres, (about 510,000 sq. ft.), of floor area.
The "footprint" on the site will cover approximately 138 by 102 m (about 455 by 335 ft.) This is the approximate surface area of two football fields. The building's outside wall height will be about 30 m (100 ft.), or 9 storeys tall. The maximum roof height will be approximately 36 m (118 ft.).
Foundation and Flood Protection
The east wall will be located about 69 m (226 ft.) from the normal summer water level on the Red River. Because the building will be built on piles/caissons, set on bedrock, it should not affect riverbank stability. A detailed riverbank stability study is underway to ensure the facility satisfies Rivers and Streams Authority requirements.
The existing primary diking system will protect the building from flooding. Any riverbank enhancement will have to incorporate flooding protection to the 160-year flood level. Grade floor level for the complex will be about the current elevation of the existing dike. The building will accommodate future dike relocation closer to the facility's east face or allow the complex to serve as an integral part of the dike system.
The building's permanent seating will accommodate approximately 16,500 people. The dasher board system and lower seating can be removed to accommodate events which require up to 2,900 square metres (31,000 sq. ft.) of floor space.
Another 2,000 seats can be added for events not requiring the arena floor.
The building will have five levels. Spectators will typically enter at arena ice level, and travel to one of the three concourses by escalator, elevator or stairs. The building allows even distribution between lower-bowl seating and outer-perimeter or upper-bowl seating.
The main lower concourse will serve the "inner circle" of almost 4,500 seats.
The mid-concourse will serve the lower bowl premium seats, including ten rows of club seating. Approximately 2,500 club seats are planned, but about 3,250 could be accommodated. The plan provides for 48 private suites comprising 632 seats.
The club concourse will have its own club bar and restaurant at the north end providing a direct view of events.
The upper concourse will serve the outer-perimeter seating, including about 750 mezzanine seats and about 7,400 upper-bowl seats. The upper-bowl seating will include separate theme areas such as a sports club, family, group, and "pub club" as well as about 5,200 general seats.
Two large group boxes will accommodate out-of-town tours. A uniquely-themed sports bar and restaurant will be located on the upper balcony level above the northwest main entrance. Events may be viewed directly from the restaurant.
The facility's exterior design is under study and has not yet been finalized. Architects are aiming to create a signature building for Winnipeg making an important statement in the downtown urban context and inviting year-round activity in the vicinity.
From Portage and Main, and the Exchange District, the facility will signal major pedestrian gateways to The Forks and the riverfront areas.
In response to ongoing discussions, MEC is seeking to ensure the building fits comfortably in its setting. The large facility, for example, will sit unobtrusively against the larger downtown office structures. Attention will focus on enhancing relationships to the river and streets with appropriate ground-level uses that stimulate vitality through all seasons, even when the facility is not in use. Creative lighting will create a pleasing and identifiable nighttime silhouette. Views to The Forks and St. Boniface will be considered in accordance with earlier concept plans for this area.
The evolving exterior design has moved away from a "free standing" building concept towards one that is integrated with the emerging redevelopment of this important public area. Development of smaller, adjacent buildings will reduce the scale of the facility and create a wider range of use in the area.
The exterior design will continue to evolve even after the footprint, foundation and structure of the basic building have been finalized.
Operational features will assist with easy event setup and low cost building operations. Extensive locker and dressing rooms will accomodate the widest range of events. Ample space will be provided for kitchen and commissary storage and preparation. General storage has been considered and planned.
The exterior wall will be a combination of glazed curtainwall and masonry. The cavity wall system will isolate the building interior from intrusive exterior noise. Insulation levels will meet current construction standards and ensure operation efficiency.
The roof structure will accomodate a large concert stage at the north end, as well as a centre stage for concerts in the round. Special emphasis is being placed on developing sound systems and acoustics to accomodate specific needs for all events. Lighting is being designed to meet rigorous NHL standards, but will also be flexible to accomodate all anticipated needs.
Mechanical System Flexibility
Use of industrial-quality, roof-top mechanical units will provide the needed flexibility for ventilation, and minimize operating costs for all sizes of events.
The mechanical system will use outside air during events to provide economical cooling on winter nights. A central air conditioning plant, with approximately 2,000 tons of cooling capacity, will provide comfort during hot summer events.
Life Safety Systems
Pressurized stairwells, emergency smoke exhaust, fire alarm, mechanical sprinklers and computerized building control will be provided as part of state-of-the-art life safety systems.
Motion sensors, door sensors, and cameras will be monitored from a central location to ensure safety to all building occupants.
Media will be served in a modern, comfortable setting. Areas will be provided for radio, TV and access to all the latest communication tools. A media lounge and work room will be provided along with easy access to both home and visiting locker rooms. Camera locations are being planned to accomodate NHL hockey needs.
Patron Needs and Comforts
Interior design is focusing on patrons' needs and comforts. Besides better overall interior quality, compared to the existing arena, other specific features will be provided for users:
Views and Sight Lines
All seats in the house will provide an unencumbered view of the ice surface in a comfortable setting.
The upper balcony seating slope will be significantly reduced from corresponding slopes in the existing arena, and similar to slopes in the recently-built San Jose and Anaheim arenas.
Patrons will have ample room in comfortable upholstered seating, with generous aisle space to allow for bulky winter clothing.
Washroom facilities will be evenly distributed around all levels.
Approximately twice as many fixtures as required by building codes wil be provided, and the number of fixtures available for women will more than double those available in the existing Winnipeg Arena.
A special section will provide family rest rooms, and concessions offering family-oriented menus.
Physically Challenged Needs
Approximately 92 spaces have been designated for handicapped people, nearly four times current National Building Code requirements. These spaces will be uniformly distributed on lower and upper levels to provide for seating choice. A dedicated elevator will alow physically challenged access to all levels.
Planning will ensure executive-class food service to all levels. The large number of concession spaces will accomodate patrons in a highly efficient, varied and comfortable manner.
The building will be designed to accommodate 65% to 75% of patrons arriving and departing through the major northwest entrance at the end of Portage Avenue East (Thistle Lane underpass). The southeast entrance will accommodate peak use of 50% of the patrons. Even with proposed transit facilities in this area, the southeast entrance is expected to be used by only 20% to 30% of the normal event attendance. The remaining patrons are expected to use the northeast entrance off Lombard Avenue.
Pedestrian access will be helped by connections to the climate-protected downtown walkway system, and by the anticipated shift in attendance patterns towards direct travel from the office or other pre-event downtown venues (e.g., restaurants or hotels). Shuttle bus service in the downtown could also ease access.
Traffic and Parking
Eighty to 90% of patrons will come to events by private vehicles rather than by public transit.
Public events will generate traffic. Assuming two-to-three persons per private car, and 10% transit usage, an estimated 5,500 to 6,200 vehicles will make their way to and from parking facilities in the downtown before and after events.
Parking spaces will generally be dispersed across existing facilities within a 10 minute walk of the site. Event patrons can use an estimated 5,700 available off-street parking spaces within this radius. This arrangement will disperse traffic over the existing street system in adjacent downtown neighbourhoods on the west side of the river.
A downtown location is expected to generate additional transit use by patrons. Transit offers several existing routes within a ten-minute walk from the site.
Transit, shuttle bus and other access will also be provided, with transit loading to be located between Pioneer and Water Avenues. Development of the proposed south west and north east transit corridors would provide opportunities for significant growth in public transit access to the site, with potential to develop a major transit station between Westbrook and the CN track high line.
Parking for Premium Seating Patrons
The project requires 500 to 1000 parking spaces located as close as possible to the building, specifically for club and premium seating patrons.
Initial design work considered developing a parking structure with approximately 500 spaces adjacent to the east side of the CN track high line, spanning Pioneer Avenue and connecting to the southwest side of the building.
The City's Implementation Committee and others, raised concerns about urban design impacts of a parking structure spanning Pioneer Avenue at this location. The Implementation Committee also proposed transit loading stations be located between Pioneer and Water Avenues.
In response to Implementation Committee and MEC concerns about the project's overall capital costs, and uncertainties about the City's future road network plans for Pioneer and Water Avenues, alternatives have been examined to meet the parking requirements of premium seating patrons.
Based on discussions to date, MEC believes from 500 to over 1000 existing spaces in parking structures connected to the walkway system in the Portage and Main area, can be leased long-term for premium seating patrons. Revenue sharing arrangements will be set up between the entertainment complex operator and parking operators. MEC will continue to pursue these arrangements to accommodate premium seating and season-ticket patrons.
MEC will also seek to establish interim arrangements for eventrelated surface parking for about 450 spaces on City lands to the south of Pioneer and Water Avenues, with event-related parking revenues assigned to the facility to assist overall project viability.
In addition, MEC will encourage the City and The Forks Renewal Corporation to proceed as soon as possible with development of long-term parking structures and related projects south of Water Avenue with a pedestrian overpass connection to the entertainment centre.
Appropriate arrangements for the entertainment centre to participate in eventrelated parking revenues need to be negotiated. Development of parking in this area should provide benefits to the entire East Yard Area, including The Forks, and would be consistent with the long-term concept plan for this area. During events, this parking would be reserved for premium seating and season ticket patrons.
Approximate scale of proposed entertainment complex as seen from St. Boniface
WHAT'S AHEAD ...
The Manitoba Entertainment Complex is currently in the design and approvals stage and scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 1995. Construction is conditional upon obtaining all necessary funding commitments, the sale of the Winnipeg Jets to new private-sector owners, and obtaining all required government and regulatory approvals.
Public Consultation will occur during the first two weeks of April, focusing on the building, integrated site planning, and environmental impact issues. The results of this consultation will assist MEC to finalize its plans and its submissions to governments during April.
MEC is proceeding during April to secure City approvals for zoning, street closings, and overall building design. Environmental impact screening is also being conducted at this time.
Finalizing Business Plan Commitments
During April, the construction manager (Dominion Hunt) will provide the Final Guaranteed Maximum Price for the Entertainment Complex. MEC will also finalize its assessment of all other projected capital costs for this project.
Delays to date, and the provincial election on April 25, may preclude MEC from finalizing all business plan commitments during April. It is unlikely, for example, that any formal public review of MEC's business plan can occur until after April 25. Delays will also probably prevent MEC from obtaining formal undertakings or approvals for various other elements of this plan, by May 1.
In the last week of April, after the provincial election, MEC is planning to review the status of the business plan with each level of government, the feasibility of exercising the option, and the undertakings required to proceed with the project.
May 1, 1995 Option Deadline
MEC will not exercise the option unless it is reasonably satisfied MEC's business plan can be successfully implemented and construction of the new arena completed in time for the start of the 1997/98 NHL hockey season.
MEC has confirmed the May 1, 1995 option deadline cannot be extended. To exercise the option, a deposit must be provided by this deadline. Closing of the Team purchase must then occur on or before August 15, 1995, after securing NHL approvals and fulfilling other conditions.
If the option is exercised, it is understood there will be no prospect, after May 1, 1995. of the Team being sold and moved prior to the 1995/96 hockey season.
In the event the option is not exercised on, or before, May 1, MEC has encouraged the existing majority owners of the Winnipeg Jets to ensure the Team will be sold and moved, prior to the 1995/96 hockey season.
Construction Start For the Facility
MEC is proceeding on the premise that closing the purchase of the team and the start of facility construction should occur concurrently, as soon as practical on or before June 30, 1995. This will allow the facility to open in time for the 1997 hockey season.
For construction to begin during June 1995, arrangements with the City will be required to fund demolition of the existing buildings and site cleanup prior to mid-June 1995. This demolition and clean up work, however, will be required on this site regardless of whether the Entertainment Complex is built.
Community Benefits from MEC's Proposal
Development of the entertainment complex at the Portage East site will provide significant benefits to the City and Province, including:
- A new and improved entertainment and sports facility for community residents
- Downtown location for the new entertainment complex
- Retention of an NHL franchise
- Clean-up and people-oriented redevelopment of City-owned lands in close proximity to the Red River, The Forks, Portage and Main, the Exchange District and St. Boniface
Numerous reports have previously concluded the existing arena, built in 1954, must now be replaced. Earlier reports have highlighted the significant loss in tax and other revenues governments face if the Winnipeg Jets leave Winnipeg. MEC's proposal represents the last opportunity in the forseeable future to attract over $100 million in private funds for replacing the existing arena with a downtown facility and retaining the Jets in Winnipeg.
MEC's business plan will present a community-oriented approach to provide the City and Province with downside protections as well as long-term net financial benefits. MEC's plan will ensure government commitments will be subject to MEC sourcing and securing the necessary private equity and long-term private debt.
About the Participating Consultants
Cohlmeyer Associates, Archiects & Urban Designers are a Winnipeg firm who have completed a number of award-winning architectural and urban design projects. Most notable, is the work at the Forks, where they were responsible for al Phase I public outdoor spaces, the Pavilion, the Tent and Boat Basin.
Dominion Hunt is a partnership between The Dominion Company and Huber Hunt & Nichols. The Dominion Company is a family-owned firm active in real-estate, engineering and construction since 1911, and has been in Winnipeg for over 35 years. Huber Hunt & Nichols provides specific technical leadership in construction of NHL arenas in North America and recent projects include San Jose, Anaheim, America West and the Chicago arena for the Black Hawks. The Dominion Hunt partnership is currently working in Vancouver to build the General Motors Place Arena for the Vancouver Canucks.
DS-Lea Consultants Ltd. is a leading group of engineering and planning consultants. They are based in Winnipeg.
Quaternary Consultants Ltd. is a Winnipeg-based archaeological firm specializing in archaeological impact assessment studies. They serve as consultants to The Forks Renewal Corporation.
Sink Combs Dethlefs is a recognized leader in the design of sports and entertainment facilities throughout the United States and Canada and are the designers of the new 20,000 seat arena in San Jose, California, the Fargodome and the Victor Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
Smith Carter Architects and Engineers Inc. is one of Winnipeg's largest architectural firms with broad experience in the design of major local, public-use facilities.
Spectacor is a maior North American facility management company, similar to Ogden Entertainment Services. They are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
For more information, or comments, please contact:
Manitoba Entertainment Complex Inc.
Phone: (204) 987-9600
Fax: (204) 943-3018