Monday, August 31, 2009

 

Downtown Arena Primer

I'm going to place a link to this post in the left sidebar, and will continue to update it as time goes on. That way, people can come to the site, click on the link to the left, and get their hands on everything we have posted here.

This is, to my mind, the most comprehensive gathering of information and opinion around on the proposed downtown arena. Most of the opinion is mine, and therefore reflects my viewpoint (which is in opposition), but there are invaluable contributions, from both sides of the argument, within the comment sections of each post. There are also a large number of links to newspaper articles, academic articles, and other items within those posts. I encourage all to read through what is provided here, and to share it with others. I also encourage everyone to look for other sources of information on this issue. Like I said, these opinions are mine. I make no qualms about having them, believing them to be clear and rational, but I do encourage everyone to seek out other voices and opinions in making a determination on where they stand on the issue.


Arena Powerpoint



Downloadable Documents
These two documents were created to supplement the powerpoint presentation above, and have been updated to include the most recent announcements. They will continue to be updated as events transpire.

21 Key Arena Posts

Complete List of Arena Posts

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Comments:

Wow. A thorough list. Thanks for putting it together, Andy. I'm still trying to flesh out my thoughts on this one and this will help.

Cheers,

Dave
 


Any alternate suggestions for downtown revitalization? Perhaps an alternate suggestion for location?

Surely you don't expect the team to continue playing in an out-dated, low capacity arena simply because it holds a sense of nostalgia for times gone by? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the public funds would not be "given" to the Oilers, but rather loaned at a low interest rate to fund the project cost. Saying that Katz can "afford to build it himself" shows the shallow, knee jerk nature of the opposition to the arena in that you assume that a because he's worth (on paper) $500 mil more than the project cost he can cut a check (shortly after paying $200 mil plus for the team).

I have not fully weighed the facts on the economics of the project and agree with your sentiments that more information should be shared with the public. However, if you are neither in favor of the status quo nor the proposed revitalization plans I believe it is incumbent upon you to at least provide an alternative and become part of the solution rather than a force of inertia.
 


Saying that Katz can "afford to build it himself" shows the shallow, knee jerk nature of the opposition to the arena in that you assume that a because he's worth (on paper) $500 mil more than the project cost he can cut a check (shortly after paying $200 mil plus for the team).

The public shouldn't be subsidizing the business transactions of a private, multi-million dollar company (which is in turn owned by a billionaire). If Katz wants to gather financing the venture, there are avenues for that outside of the public sphere. If the arena isn't feasible without government assistance, ie; if doesn't make fiscal sense without subsidy, then it probably shouldn't be done in the first place. That's not a "knee-jerk" reaction; it's a principled one.

I don't think Andy or anyone else opposed to very rich men taking their tax dollars to further enhance their bottom line have to come up with "alternatives". How does the saying go? "No means no."
 


Surely you don't expect the team to continue playing in an out-dated, low capacity arena simply because it holds a sense of nostalgia for times gone by?

Just because something's old doesn't mean it's outdated, or that retaining it is just nostalgia.

And the "low capacity" angle may be a red herring. Earlier versions of arena proposal involved reducing the number of seats. While the latest talk is of 18,000 to 20,000 seats, we should wait until the final proposal is out before we talk about a benefit of the project being increased seating. (Not to mention that more seats does not equal more accessibility - wait until you see the pricing.)

Any alternate suggestions for downtown revitalization?

I have none off the top of my head, but how do we know this is the most effective way to achieve the revitalization goal? If the City has several hundred million in low interest loans to throw at the problem, it would probably do better to set up a competitive bid process and see what ideas roll in (not to mention evaluate them based on the return on investment).
 


Andy, this is a tremendous resource. Thanks for giving us access to all this great info.

I'm not sure where I stand either... I'd like to see a new arena downtown; I don't want to foot the bill for it as a taxpayer; and I'm hopeful it would be a great centre of activity and urban renewal.

But I've always been a bit of an optimist. This debate require pragmatists.
 


Any alternate suggestions for downtown revitalization?

It is the retail/residential component of the proposed development that would drive any of revitalization, not the arena, so that dog doesn't hunt. That's the money maker for Katz and he knows it. He also knows that he wouldn't get nearly the same degree of funding for a conventional real estate development alone, so he's leveraging the Oil drop to get his hands on some public dough to defray the costs and fatten the profits he can expect to reap from the condo sales and retail leases.
 


However, if you are neither in favor of the status quo nor the proposed revitalization plans I believe it is incumbent upon you to at least provide an alternative and become part of the solution rather than a force of inertia.

The alternatives are abundant. The question is: what is so special about an arena instead of, say, a museum, or zoo, or theatre...?
 

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