Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Extra bucks hover over stadium

Stakeholders kicking the bill around

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The price tag for Winnipeg's new football stadium has risen to nearly $204 million, thanks to $3.5 million of additional work at Investors Group Field.

BBB Stadium Inc., the non-profit organization responsible for building the 33,500-seat facility at the University of Manitoba, is trying to sort out who will pay a $3.5-million tab for work done to the stadium outside the scope of the original construction contract.

That work included rebuilding handrails at the stadium, the installation of a fire-suppression system missing from a crawl space and additional insulation of some plumbing, BBB Stadium chairman Phil Sheegl said Thursday in an interview.

The added insulation was required after a plan to build an all-weather winter dome over the playing surface was scrapped, Sheegl revealed.

Officials confirmed last year some design elements changed when oversight of the stadium project was handed over from Creswin Properties, which originally sought to build the facility, to the non-profit Winnipeg Football Club.

Sheegl said BBB Stadium's stakeholders -- the football club, the province, the city and the university -- must determine who will cover the additional costs.

"That's what we're trying to figure out right now," said Sheegl, the City of Winnipeg's representative on BBB Stadium's four-person board of directors. "BBB Stadium doesn't have the money." Sheegl is Winnipeg's chief administrative officer.

Although originally envisioned by Creswin as a $115-million project, the stadium cost was increased to $190 million in December 2010, when the football club took over.

The price rose another $10 million in 2012, when BBB Stadium took out a loan to complete the stadium.

Another $350,000 worth of work was confirmed last week, when Bombers interim president and CEO Wade Miller announced a corporate sponsorship would cover the replacement of the stadium's inadequate press box with a weather-protected one that would allow Investors Group Field to host a Grey Cup.

The province is now in talks with the other stadium stakeholders about responsibility for the additional costs, a spokesman for Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said. But nothing has been settled.

According to Mayor Sam Katz, the City of Winnipeg will not contribute one more penny to the stadium.

"I don't think there's been an official ask, but the answer is zero. We've already put in our money and that's all there is," the mayor said Thursday in an interview.

"That's an issue they're going to have to resolve. Our commitment was made very clear from the beginning."

The city contributed a $7.5-million grant to the stadium and recouped that money from the $30.25-million sale of the former Canad Inns Stadium site at Polo Park. The city also agreed to devote municipal property-tax revenue from redevelopment of the old stadium site as part of a plan to recover $75 million of a $160-million stadium-building loan.

The province also plans to devote education taxes from the redevelopment of the old stadium site. That comes on top of a $22.5-million provincial grant.

The Winnipeg Football Club is on the hook to repay $95 million worth of loans, plus interest -- $85 million of the provincial stadium-building loan, plus the entire $10-million BBB Stadium loan.

On Thursday, the football club declined to comment on the additional stadium costs. Bomber spokesman Darren Cameron referred all questions to BBB Stadium.

The road to $204 million

A history of the pricetag associated with Investors Group Field, Winnipeg's new football stadium:

$115,000,000 The original projection for the cost of building a new football stadium at the University of Manitoba, according to a memorandum of understanding signed in March 2010, when the city, province, university and Creswin Properties formalized a stadium-building deal.

$190,000,000 The cost of building Investors Group Field rose $75 million in December 2010,after Creswin departed the project. This figure was supposed to be a guaranteed maximum price.

$200,000,000 The stadium cost rose another $10 million in December 2012, when BBB Stadium took out a loan to complete venue,

$200,350,000 The stadium cost rose another $350,000 on Sept. 19, 2013, when the football club announced it will use corporate sponsorship revenue to conduct repairs to the inferior press box at Investors Group Field.

$204,000,000 On Thursday, another $3.5 million worth of work was confirmed by BBB Stadium, owing to design changes or missing elements. This figure is expected to be the final pricetag for building the stadium.


Who should pay for the extra costs of the stadium construction? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2013 A12


Updated on Friday, September 20, 2013 at 6:56 AM CDT: Replaces photo, adds question for discussion

7:41 AM: adds video

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