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Edmonton council approves framework deal for new arena

The Canadian Press

5/19/2011 2:32:54 AM

EDMONTON -- Edmonton city council has approved an agreement framework with the Katz Group to build a new downtown arena.

The city says the deal will keep the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL in the city for 35 years.

The arena will cost $450 million, with the city providing $125 million, the Katz Group paying $100 million and $125 million coming from a user-paid facility fee.

The city notes in a news release that it is not a final or binding agreement and both parties must now work to secure the remaining $100 million required.

The framework allows for the city to own the building and the land while the Katz Group will operate the building and be responsible for all maintenance, upgrades, operating and capital expense costs.

City manager Simon Farbrother says the framework is fair for both sides.

"From the beginning we have approached this project with the twin objectives of creating a major engine to drive the revitalization of downtown and of creating a model for the long term sustainability of the Oilers in Edmonton," said Bob Black of the Katz Group.

"City council's decision is a watershed moment that puts us on a path towards achieving these objectives. There remains a lot of hard work ahead to conclude a definitive agreement and we are anxious to do so as soon as possible."

The deal was approved by an 8-5 vote.