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New Bombers stadium by 2011: Asper

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/4/2009 (2978 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The new home for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be complete in 2011, future team owner David Asper announced this morning.

More than two years after the Winnipeg businessman first mused about building a new stadium for the Winnipeg Football Club and buying the team, his Creswin Properties, the University of Manitoba, the Bombers and all three levels of government finally have a $135-million plan in place to building a new stadium and amateur athletic facilities along Chancellor Matheson Road.

David Asper sings the praises of new seats for the proposed football stadium   sliding past Bomber President and CEO Lyle Bauer back in June 2008.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVE

David Asper sings the praises of new seats for the proposed football stadium sliding past Bomber President and CEO Lyle Bauer back in June 2008.

The Manitoba and federal governments are contributing $35 million, with Ottawa’s $15 million earmarked to the athletic components only, said senior Manitoba MP Vic Toews.

The Winnipeg Football Club has been seeking a new home to replace Canad Inns stadium since late 2004. After first trying to arrange deals for locations at Polo Park and South Point Douglas, Asper and the U of M signed a memorandum of understanding last summer. But it took several more months to work out financing arrangements.

Ottawa was fearful of setting a precedent by providing funding for professional football, Toews said.

 

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer said the province expects to recoup $19 million of its $20 million contribution from the construction of the building alone. He said a new stadium makes far more sense than spending $40 million on Canad Inns repairs that will only last another decade.

Under previously announced terms, the deal will see the city of Winnipeg sell Creswin the existing Canad Inns Stadium site at full market value, which will allow the company to use commercial revenues for new retail projects to fund the new Bombers stadium development and a refurbishment of the existing University Stadium at the U of M.

The retail project will contribute new property and education taxes to the city and province.

Design work for the new stadium will start now, including how it will fit on the U of M site, shovels could be in the ground by the fall and stadium could be up and running in 2011.

The deal also includes a complex, heavily lawyered agreement for Asper to purchase the Winnipeg Football Club. That deal includes provisions that ensure the club can never leave Winnipeg, even if the retail project at Polo Park somehow fails.

An emotional Asper said is very cognizant of the responsibility he is undertaking, given that he is dismantling "the house that Jack (Jacobs) built" at Polo Park.

One loose end that remains up in the air is who will pay for the demolition of Canad Inns Stadium, Mayor Sam Katz said.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

 

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