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Province providing $90-M loan for stadium

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/3/2010 (3175 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG - The province is providing a $90-million loan to allow shovels to hit the ground on a new football stadium at the University of Manitoba this summer.

This morning beneath the leaky, pigeon-guano-covered west-side stands at Canad Inns Stadium, Premier Greg Selinger announced details of the latest — and possibly final — deal to build a new home for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Fort Garry, at the northwest corner of Chancellor Matheson Road and University Crescent.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/3/2010 (3175 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 


WINNIPEG - The province is providing a $90-million loan to allow shovels to hit the ground on a new football stadium at the University of Manitoba this summer.

This morning beneath the leaky, pigeon-guano-covered west-side stands at Canad Inns Stadium, Premier Greg Selinger announced details of the latest — and possibly final — deal to build a new home for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Fort Garry, at the northwest corner of Chancellor Matheson Road and University Crescent.

The deal requires David Asper's Creswin Properties – which has been struggling to assemble The Elms, a Polo Park retail development initially intended to finance a $115 million, 33,000-seat stadium — to pay back the provincial loan by 2016.

Creswin intends to accomplish this with with revenue from The Elms and a new loan based on equity in the development, slated for the current site of Canad Inns Stadium.

If Creswin fails to pay back the loan, new property taxes from the redevelopment of the Canad Inns Stadium site at Polo Park will cover off the government commitment.

This back-up plan would see the province and city use a funding mechanism called tax increment financing. This would see future property-tax revenues that would flow from the project pay back the province. It also allows the Selinger government to claim it's only spending tax dollars it would not have received if there was no new stadium.

Former premier Gary Doer, however, promised this arrangement would not be applied to a football stadium. Opposition leader Hugh McFadyen is planning to protest this use of tax increment financing.

Tax increment financing is normally used in blighted areas, such as empty sections of downtown – not valuable commercial neighbourhoods such as Polo Park. But Mayor Sam Katz said an exception is warranted given the fact the city collects no taxes whatsoever from Canad Inns Stadium right now.

The amended deal is now worth a total of $137 million, as Ottawa and Manitoba are contributing $22 million to recreation improvements at the U of M. The deal will see shovels in the ground at U of M this summer and a new stadium open in time for the 2012 Canadian Football League season.

The deal would also make room for David Asper to assume control of the non-profit Winnipeg Football Club, provided Creswin succeeds in building The Elms and buys out the $90-million stadium debt.

Asper will get a seat on the Bomber board immediately and have a voice in the construction of the stadium, whose scale and scope remains the same as when the deal was originally announced in April 2009.

Apser promised today there will be no more press conferences about stadium deals.

The urgency behind today’s announcement stems from the increasing cost of running a CFL franchise out of 57-year-old Canad Inns Stadium, which faces a $52-million maintenance tab over the next decade just to remain in its current state, Selinger said.

The Winnipeg Football Club is also bracing for the results of an inquest into the 2006 death of Andrew Szabo, a fan who fell from the stands during a game. The inquest report, expected soon, may require the team to make additional safety upgrades.

Bomber board chairman Ken Hildahl said he does not expect those upgrades to be too onerous.

Watch a replay of the entire press conference below:

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History

Updated on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 12:20 PM CDT: Adds details, comments from Hugh McFadyen

2:42 PM: Updates financial figures.

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