• If anyone tracks these things…

    by  • July 27, 2010 • Uncategorized • 115 Comments

    The moment when Bob Stauffer abandoned all pretense of being a journalist was at approximately 1:50 PM MST on July 26, 2010, when he asked a condo developer with a financial interest in the arena project going ahead if there’s anything wrong with businessmen making money. The developer almost seemed embarassed for him and paused for about five seconds before answering no and then sharing an anecdote about how much Daryl Katz loves the Oilers. It’s worth going to the Team 1260′s webpage and listening to – it’s that bad. Mark Spector wrote a trainwreck of a column on Sportsnet that I’m not linking to on the off chance that he gets paid for hits but it’s still a good 10-15 times more insightful than Stauffer was in interviewing this developer.

    The developer was a bit questionable too – he threw out a stat that 91% of people want to live downtown, which I find highly dubious. There have to be a billion caveats on that. Nobody wants to live downtown once they have kids, even in cities that don’t have terrible downtowns – they want a yard and extra space. Spector happened to be a guest on today’s show and by the end of the first hour, he was making points against the rink just to provide some sort of balance to the discussion. The whole thing was like an infomercial without the quiet sense of dignity.

    It’s also quickly becoming apparent that Stauffer’s response to the economics is going to just be to mock it and ignore it. He pays lip service to the argument and then sniffs it away without explaining why. The explanations that are out there – Edmonton needs more gay people to drive the economy and gay people are attracted to hockey rinks (or something like that; Richard Florida doesn’t make a lot of sense to me) – suck (in my view) but he can’t even be bothered to mouth them. Dan Tencer would be embarrassed if he was covering the arena story this poorly.

    Memo to Spector: the Edmonton economy was, in 2007, something like 170% of the size of the Winnipeg economy. I’m not precisely sure how that’s calculated and whether it includes Edmonton’s bedroom communities but there’s probably also a lot more wealth within three hours of Edmonton than there is within three hours of Winnipeg. The Oilers are a top ten team in revenue in the NHL, despite being spectacularly mismanaged and doing without playoff revenue for four years. Maybe if Katz isn’t handed a pile of free money by the city, he’ll see if he can’t improve the hockey team’s financial performance by, oh, I don’t know – getting rid of the managerial and coaching failures he’s currently paying six figure to have hang around Rexall Place? If you can’t perform analysis that is somewhat more granular than “cold, prairie town”, you should probably stay well away from the business of hockey, something that was already evident from the work you’ve done on the NHLPA, which amounts do “They should do what the owners tell them.” I don’t know where you went to journalism school but, I assure you, the expression is not “Comfort the comfortable, afflict the afflicted.” Really. The compulsion to do whatever the man with money says is unbecoming.

    (By the way – there’s some possibility that Stauffer is a precog, because he was kind of muttering during Lowetide’s appearance that I take mean personal shots, something I hadn’t done in a while (I don’t actually think I’ve ever been that hard on him), maybe since Joffrey Lupul left town which was pretty much the last time he was so absurdly myopic about something. It’s iike he knew this was coming.)

    About

    115 Responses to If anyone tracks these things…

    1. godot10
      July 27, 2010 at

      The Victoria Public School, a K-12 school, one of the best public schools in Edmonton, and probably Canada, I believe would be the closest public school to the Arena District.

      Parents in Edmonton, like my sister (who fortunately works downtown) drives her two kids from the suburbs to Victoria. The option of living downtown if suitable housing were available would be extremely attractive. Her husband could then to a commute to his job in the southern suburbs against the traffic flow.

      Perhaps you should know a little more about Edmonton in particular before making bold pronouncements about where families may or may not want to live. A lot of inner city schools might well be saved from closing with a revitalized downtown.

    2. Tyler Dellow
      July 27, 2010 at

      “If suitable housing were available.” I don’t know your sister but I doubt she wants to live with her kids in a condo. That’s the kind of housing that gets built downtown. There aren’t any houses in downtown Toronto – it’s condos and lofts occupied by single people.

      I would think that if there was really demand based on a school system, someone would have actually gone about building some houses downtown. Downtown hollowing isn’t a problem that’s unique to Edmonton, by the way; it’s happened in all sorts of Canadian and American cities as people flee for the comforts of the suburbs.

      If there was interest, someone would build it. People like the lifestyle that comes with not living in the business district.

    3. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      I don’t know if you are aware of this, but BP has an internal magazine that publishes articles in the style of independent journalism.

      A blog at the Wall Street Journal site was the first to take the piss, by the looks of it.
      http://blogs.wsj.com/source/2010/06/22/bp-magazine-discovers-a-bright-side-to-the-oil-spill/

      quoting WSJ:
      But in Planet BP — a BP online, in-house magazine — a “BP reporter” dispatched to Louisiana managed to paint an even rosier picture of the disaster. “There is no reason to hate BP,” one local seafood entrepreneur is quoted as saying, as the region relies on the oil industry for work.

      Indeed, the April 20 spill on the Deepwater Horizon is being reinvented in Planet BP as a strike of luck.

      Stephen Colbert has a terrific satire of the article as well. They really set it on a tee for Colbert with this, funny stuff.
      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/314082/june-29-2010/lube-job

      This was about a month ago, and ever since, whenever I catch a snippet of Stauffer’s audio Oiler newsletter (Oilers Lunch on AM 1260), I think of “BP Planet” and smile.

      Somewhere Bryan Hall is listening to Stauffer’s show and yelling “Have some dignity, motherfucker!” at the radio.

      I only catch

    4. godot10
      July 27, 2010 at

      Elite schools attract families. Victoria is an elite (and public) school, currently located in a fairly rundown area a couple of blocks north of the proposed arena district.

      A critical mass in neighborhood revitalization would have to be reached for a magnet school like Victoria to become a magnet neighborhood. A properly conceived arena district could create that magnet.

      You might not attract your typical family, as typical families are attracted to Victoria anyways. But there are parents from all over the Edmonton suburbs already willing to take their kids to Victoria.

      Unlike Calgary, Edmonton has independent bedroom communities limiting the directions it can sprawl, but it has incredible potential with the downtown and the airport lands to create an incredibly attractive and affordable urban city as the world faces the end of cheap energy.

      Cities with well-designed livable urban cores will have the strategic advantage over suburbias.

    5. Cru Jones
      July 27, 2010 at

      Bit of a generalization to say that no one with kids wants to live downtown in any city, don’t you think? Personally, kids or no kids, I could never handle living in the ‘burbs.

      I’ll take Stauffer over Dan “God’s gift to Radio” Tencer any day.

    6. dawgbone
      July 27, 2010 at

      Cru, you are in the miniority.

      There are only a couple of people I know who live downtown (TO) with kids and all of them are considering moving away.

      The problem with living downtown is your access to things like community rinks, parks, etc… is limited.

      Downtown condos in all cities are designed to attract young (25-35) couples. That is who they are marketed for and that’s what the amenities are trying to attract.

      Sure, there are a few people who might be attracted to live downtown because of this school, but it’s going to be a very small percentage.

    7. JJ
      July 27, 2010 at

      I know plenty of families that live in condos. In fact, several live in my building. So wrong again grabia 2.0. You’re becoming a broken record like your anti-arena compatriot.

      And as someone who lived in Winnipeg during the exodus, you won’t understand how badly the city suffered. I don’t have stats to back it up, only what I saw. Businesses closed down, fewer big events coming to town…it was not a fun time.

    8. Kyle M
      July 27, 2010 at

      Edmonton’s downtown has, for decades now, been a disaster. Council has come up with plan after failed plan to revitalize it’s downtown, and arena districts have proven to do exactly that in city after city across this continent.

      Uh…

    9. Tyler Dellow
      July 27, 2010 at

      Yeah I couldn’t believe that either Kyle. It’s not “So, is there anything wrong with businessmen making money?” but it’s pretty terrible.

    10. edm_euler
      July 27, 2010 at

      Downtown Edmonton is largely a joke compared to most major cities. The LRT expansion and airport redevelopment will really help that, much more than an arena. If the arena leads to an entertainment district and brings more people and events downtown then that could work as part of a greater plan, but not in a vacuum by itself. Arm-waving and vague promises or threats from either side won’t help.

      The “if suitable housing were available” line is my thoughts exactly – we’re in the ‘burbs now with a house, yard, and baby on the way, but the condo we had before is just west of downtown. The location was great, we could walk or take the bus easily, but the accommodations weren’t kid-friendly so we moved. Condos are built to be sold, not to be family-friendly.

    11. Death Metal Nightmare
      July 27, 2010 at

      whats even worse than Stauffer making an ass of himself? bloggers who post mainstream economic-political rants, about ideas taken as ‘GIVENS’, that are so gutless and corny that it just becomes boring drivel.

      the second error is that you people take hockey journalism seriously because you blog about nerdy fucking math stats and bullshit concepts that dont elucidate or create an “ALL SEEING EYE” like baseball BULLSHIT in the chaos of hockey. “i expect high end political talk from cynical guys who use to beat off to hockey cards and now write blog caliber stories and do radio shows. boohoo. the golden age of radio would have been so mad. tehe.”

      get out of sports and hockey if youre that far above the dialog. bet you cant cause you still have that infantile boy hood nostalgia just like Stauffer and Spector do. “its so ingrained in our ‘culture’, i MUST do it.” nice try at using cult mentality to legitimize decisions.

    12. godot10
      July 27, 2010 at

      //Downtown Edmonton is largely a joke compared to most major cities. The LRT expansion and airport redevelopment will really help that, much more than an arena. If the arena leads to an entertainment district and brings more people and events downtown then that could work as part of a greater plan, but not in a vacuum by itself. Arm-waving and vague promises or threats from either side won’t help.//

      I don’t think you see the bigger picture about the potential Edmonton has to remake the city from the downtown to Castledowns. Take the existing arts facilities downtown (Citadel, Winspear). Then, one would have the arena district and Grant MacEwan. Then you have Victoria School just a bit further north within an inner city neighborhood that would then be primed for gentrification. Just north of that you have the the Royal Alex hospital and a medical hub. then just north of that you have a growing NAIT now with room to expand because of the airport lands, and then you have the airport lands with facilitates an entirely new near urban community, taking you to the Yellowhead. And that would facilitate the gentrification of the older slightly rundown neighborhoods north of the Yellowhead which would now be squeezed between the new community on the airport lands and the newer suburbs in Castledowns, all connected by LRT, and a public school system which many cities across North America come to study and try replicate.

      Arguably, no major city in North America has the potential for such a dynamic innovative next generation urban project. Few cities have the potential of Edmonton. All the elements are there to create an outstanding urban project connecting the new suburbs to downtown with mass transit, with major education facilities, a major medical hub, an outstanding school system, and outstanding sports and enterntainment.

    13. Dana
      July 27, 2010 at

      what

    14. Tyler Dellow
      July 27, 2010 at

      DMN –

      Out of curiosity, how did you find the site? I honestly can’t imagine how our paths intersected. As far as I can tell, you hate hockey and have no interest in business, which is pretty much all I write on here. Kudos on the email address, by the way, which is hilarious.

    15. Pete.
      July 27, 2010 at

      JJ, Cru, godot:

      I’d consider living downtown too, even if I had kids (god forbid). I currently live by Whyte Ave, but that’s more or less the same idea. I love living in the core, and would rather go live in a shack in the bush than out in suburbia. On top of all that, I’m not as anti-arena as Tyler or Grabia, and I recognize that the area where the arena is proposed is a wasteland, and pretty much a blank canvas.

      But I fail to see how plugging an arena, a hotel, an office building, and a couple of theoretical condos into that area are going to encourage anyone but a tiny minority of the population to move downtown, or do much to improve street life, etc. The centrepiece of the whole development is an arena, not a school, a park, or a grocery store.

      If people believe that a quick plug-in megaproject can “fix” an area or a city (an idea that I thought was discredited in most places by about thirty years ago), why not get creative? Run streets through that wasteland by Baccarat, thus linking the 107th Ave area more closely to downtown. Build on all the vacant space in the area, right up to the lotline, with retail and office space on the ground floor. Above put mixed-income residential, in townhouse to highrise form, bachelors to 3 bedrooms. Throw in a couple pocket parks, a full-size grocery store (with very limited parking), and a LRT station. Voila: You’ve got an area that looks and functions like a real city, not an overgrown Camrose.

      That’s just hypothetical, and is never gonna happen, so don’t ask me for the logistics. But if the city’s intend on using public money to “revitalize” that area, wouldn’t it be more effective to build something lalong those lines, matching private developers dollar for dollar, say?

    16. Mike W
      July 27, 2010 at

      Death Metal Nightmare wins comment of the year!!!

    17. Tyler Dellow
      July 27, 2010 at

      On top of all that, I’m not as anti-arena as Tyler or Grabia, and I recognize that the area where the arena is proposed is a wasteland, and pretty much a blank canvas.

      As I’ve said before, I don’t live or pay taxes there so I won’t lose any sleep if Edmonton decides to piss away hundreds of millions of dollars. I have an interest in the ineptitude of the Oilers and a general preference for honest debates though.

    18. July 27, 2010 at

      @edm_euler “Downtown Edmonton is largely a joke compared to most major cities. The LRT expansion and airport redevelopment will really help that, much more than an arena.”

      Wrong. The whole airport issue is a cash grab. I don’t use that term lightly (as I think its overused already) but explain to me why Edmonton needs to undevelop and redevelop space five minutes from Downtown when an equal or greater amount of slack space exists in Downtown already?

      LRT Expansion will actually contribute to more sprawl, as it makes it easier for the sprawled out communities to maintain the same lifestyle without suffering from the congestion and cost of living far away from work. LRT expansion might as well be called ‘Suburban Expansion Tax’ on all of those who use transit and live in Edmonton Proper.

      That all said I have devised the plan to have it all.

      Take $200M of drug money and help Katz build on the 105 street site selected as ‘best option’ by HOK (IIRC) using funds from redeveloping Northlands into residential space (its already serviced well by transit including an existing LRT station and has residential all around, if we can get $500M for #yxd surely we can get half that for Northlands), and leave #yxd because it costs the city nothing as is.

    19. edm_euler
      July 27, 2010 at

      Godot,

      I do see the big picture, I just didn’t make it clear in my comment. If the vision you described actually happens it would be fantastic. My biggest concern is that the arena might take away from more important developments (LRT, airport redev, NAIT expansion, neighbourhood revitalization, etc) rather than being a piece of the bigger puzzle. The arena could get someone elected (pro or con), whereas a less sexy project wouldn’t get nearly the attention.

      Like Pete says, they need to get rid of the vacant space downtown. All of the surface parking lots have to go and more community elements are needed.

      Of course, it’s all well and good in theory. As for making it work, I’ll leave that to people who know much more than I do about urban planning.

    20. Mike W
      July 27, 2010 at

      LRT Expansion will actually contribute to more sprawl

      Cities with decent downtowns or neighborhoods tend to have reasonable public transportation. Anything that makes it easier to get downtown, have a few beers and catch the last train home without worrying about a designated driver is good for downtown. Until then, it’s sports bars in suburban strip malls.

    21. Pete.
      July 27, 2010 at

      As I’ve said before, I don’t live or pay taxes there so I won’t lose any sleep if Edmonton decides to piss away hundreds of millions of dollars. I have an interest in the ineptitude of the Oilers and a general preference for honest debates though.

      Yeah, yeah, I know. I think maybe because you don’t live here, you’re more optimistic about the possibility of an honest debate than I, hence more inclined to try to prompt it (plus you get to mock the media a lot this way). I guess I wouldn’t characterize myself as more or less pro-arena than you, just as more resigned to the inevitable outcome, and to the inevitable bullshit and lies beforehand.

      Did I put that better?

    22. David S
      July 27, 2010 at

      Yeah. Stauffer laid it on pretty thick in what was not much more than an infomercial. But hey, he does what his boss tells him to do, like most of us. Still, it’s not that well kept a secret that Terry Paranych is one of several developers that’s got dibs on land surrounding the proposed arena district. They’ll spud as soon as the deal is solidified.

      What I don’t get is the fact that the existing arena is going to take about $200M to renovate. The ticket tax, CRL and Katz’ money should cover the difference for the downtown complex, with an arena as the central component. On top of which you get a whole district and ancillary development to boot. Given the city/ other levels of government are going to spend the cash anyways (only a noob would think Northlands is going to put up the dough), the choice comes down to where to best spend the funds.

      All things being equal, it appears the downtown complex is a no-brainer because that cash will generate so much more. How is this a bad thing?

    23. Mike W
      July 27, 2010 at

      I guess I wouldn’t characterize myself as more or less pro-arena than you, just as more resigned to the inevitable outcome, and to the inevitable bullshit and lies beforehand.

      I think it’s good to note it while it’s happening, though, so that our kids will have a resource when the Oilers demand a new arena in 2035.

    24. Pete.
      July 27, 2010 at

      Lesoteric:

      LRT Expansion will actually contribute to more sprawl

      I can’t fathom how you believe this to be the case; could you clarify a bit more? LRT expansion will likely eventually result in higher density near stations, creating satellite pseudo-downtowns with pockets of services and high density-residential, but that’s not the same thing as more sprawl at all. The grey little boxes of suburbia have already spread out miles and miles beyond anywhere the LRT will reach in the next decade(s); to create more sprawl than already exists the city would have to spend billions immediately running the LRT out to areas like the Ellerslie and 50th St or the agricultural northeast, and that ain’t happening.

    25. P-Ow
      July 27, 2010 at

      I’m generally trying to not involve myself in this debate on the internet, but I think the notion that tons of people want to move to downtown from the suburbs because of Victoria School is downright bunk, especially if we’re referring to suburbs as not just Millwoods/Terwilliger etc, but properly as St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, etc.

      The difference between Victoria and any other school in the city is negligible for anything other than the Arts (They also have IB and French immersion, but so do other schools, including ones in the suburbs).

      The number of parents that would like to live near there to accommodate their special children who need IB classes in French while trying to get into Julliard is far outweighed by the increased crime rates downtown and the lack of family-friendly housing, especially when I can send a kid to Bev Facey in Sherwood Park and they can take AP classes, participate in theatre performances, be a part of the school band, play sports or do whatever else they may want in a well-rounded high-school education. The number of kids involved in those elite programs at Vic is less than a drop in the bucket.

    26. edm_euler
      July 27, 2010 at

      This may be the first time I’ve ever heard someone try to argue that public transit contribute to urban sprawl.

    27. Ravnos
      July 27, 2010 at

      No shit. Edmonton already has some of the worst urban sprawl on the continent and the public transit here is absolute dogshit. There is absolutely no way that decent public transportation in/to/from the core could make that worse.

    28. David S
      July 27, 2010 at

      Calgary has mastered the concept of urban sprawl. Seriously, its ridiculous.

    29. Pete.
      July 27, 2010 at

      Yeah, Calgary’s brutal. It’s still got a higher population density than Edmonton, though, which really makes us look bad.

    30. Boondock
      July 27, 2010 at

      I’m fine with public money going into a new arena, but I have a problem with Katz taking all the arena revenues while leaving the city to foot most of the bill.

      Katz has a sweetheart deal at Rexall, which he gets from the city basically rent-free, while Northlands keeps the non-hockey related revenue to cover the costs of operating the building.

      This whole downtown arena play isn’t about a new arena, more seats, etc, it’s Katz trying to capture that non-hockey related revenue without giving anything up to get it.

      So the Oilers will get a new arena for little to no rent, which the City will own and operate at a loss before they even start with the debt repayment. Horrible, horrible deal for the people of Edmonton.

    31. Ravnos
      July 27, 2010 at

      Calgary is bigger in land area, but its more densely populated. Going by Wikipedia, their metro area’s density is over double Edmonton’s (2006 data). The fact that huge chunks of Parkland, Sturgeon, Strathcona and Leduc counties are included in Edmonton’s greater metro area contributes to this (Stony Plain is quite a ways past the city limits and I’m pretty sure it’s included) but it’s still worse. The numbers are closer for the cities proper, but Calgary is still more dense. Both cities could stand to tone down their sprawl quite a bit.

    32. kris
      July 27, 2010 at

      Nice article Tyler. At this point, there’s no reason to even debate the stupdity and dishonesty of the local MSM. Brownlee has a piece up at ON trying to put a humorous spin on the fact that he used to write whatever the Oilers wanted him to in order to keep his job at the paper. I’m glad he admits it, but I think it’s more sad than funny.

      —-

      People are asking the wrong questions. Here are some of the right questions:

      1. Is the interest and principal on a 250MM+ loan, (or whatever it takes to build the arena) more than the increase in revenue (plus an increase in the resale value of the team) that comes with a new arena.

      2. If the answer to 2. is “No,” then helping Katz build the arena is throwing money at him for no reason, since the arena will pay for itself.

      3. Katz might respond and say that the additional revenue to the Oilers won’t pay for the arena, but it will when you add in the additional revenue from concerts and/or the value from new businesses, restaurants, and theaters.

      4. If Katz is right about 3, then the city should only be willing to pay for the arena if they can gain a reasonable guarantee that they will earn a share of all this fantastic, frabjuous revenue. Easy to do: the Oilers pay a lease, the city gets a share of concert revenue, and the city charges a sliding fee (based on revenue) to all businesses in the vicinity of the arena, i.e. in “the arena complex.”

      5. If there isn’t enough revenue generated by the new arena and arena complex to pay the interest and principal payments for the arena, then all the pro arena people are asking taxpayers to subsidize a losing venture.

      6. I know this sounds silly, but if the new arena isn’t going to generate enough revenue to pay for the arena, the city would be better off just writing the Oilers a check for a few MM a year. (Everybody wins?!) Suppose the new arena has 2000 more seats at $75 a seat. Suppose the Oilers play 50 games a season at home. That’s a generous estimate, but it’s 7.5MM a season in added revenue. Now suppose interest is 0.04 (I have no idea how you calculate interest for investments and loans of this size, but that’s a pretty low rate. A reasonable investment should make that much, at least, I think. Correct me if I’m wrong, please.) At that rate, the interest on a 250MM arena would be 10MM a year. From the point of view of Oilers revenue alone, the city would be better off writing the Oilers a 7.5MM/year check.

      7. If there is enough revenue to pay for the arena in the revenue generated in concerts and restaurants and theaters, then I can see Katz asking for help to build the arena. He might be having trouble securing that much credit in the current environment, even if the investment looks decent to creditors long term.

      8. All of this is to say, the city should build the arena, but it should guarantee itself a return on it’s investment through lease payments from the Oilers and other businesses benefitting from the new revenue stream. (If that revenue isn’t enough, dump the project and spend the 250MM elsewhere.)

    33. Pete.
      July 27, 2010 at

      Both cities could stand to tone down their sprawl quite a bit.

      I like how you put that. It’s kind of like saying “there are a few junkies around Main and Hastings”, or “Kabul has some infrastructure and safety issues.”

    34. July 27, 2010 at

      I live in Edmonton and I just want to add the following to the discussion.

      - Mainly, the only reason that families live in condo’s are because they can’t afford houses in this fucking stupid expensive city

      - I don’t want taxpayers to pay for the arena for a couple reasons, 1) I don’t want to pay for something that makes Katz money and 2) there is nothing wrong with the Rexall (I like the fact that that is the actual rink that we won the cups in, the history, will they move the statue?, what about the fucking road they renamed? etc)

    35. Quain
      July 27, 2010 at

      I started to drift through the comments as they became more and more inane (some of you want to give money to rich people, some of you aren’t morons), but I did catch something about a school district and the arena putting together condos and families wanting to live in those condos.

      Here’s an idea, why don’t you cut out Katz, cut out the arena, and build a giant fucking place that DOESN’T SUCK. Why does that require some pretense of an arena? You give me a check for $300MM and I’ll build you a damn fine downtown core (not really, I’d build you a Monorail and takem my $298MM back to the States.) You give it to Katz, he’s going to give you an arena for your shitty hockey team, a couple of condos, and 30,000 parking spots. Have a great time, guys, your theoretical kids can play on the blacktop whenever the Oilers aren’t playing and maybe the bus will show up every forty minutes so you can get groceries. Sounds awesome.

      Isn’t Edmonton like Alaska or the Middle East? Don’t you get giant checks from the government for pillaging your natural resources? Why doesn’t the government just build an arena entirely out of gold bricks with that money?

    36. spOILer
      July 27, 2010 at

      Is there ever a good case for public funding for private enterprise? If this is a money-maker, why is Katz not going to the banks, if he wants ownership and control? Let the market judge its future value.

    37. Pete.
      July 27, 2010 at

      Quain: that’s more or less what I said, somewhere up there. I think it’s a good question, but it’s already lost, and won’t happen. We get blacktop.

    38. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Death Metal Nightmare:

      We like you Bob, really we do. We’re just taking the piss.

    39. Quain
      July 27, 2010 at

      Also: It’s absolutely tremendous that Katz’s wikipedia has the arena project listed under philanthrophy.

      Next up, Visa is going to list the sum of its user’s outstanding balances as philanthrophy.

    40. July 27, 2010 at

      Out of curiosity, how did you find the site?

      I think it’s a rhetorical question, but if not, the answer is so blindingly obvious that I’m not even going to bother to confirm I’m right: it starts “Oil” and ends in “tion”

    41. July 27, 2010 at

      Is there ever a good case for public funding for private enterprise?

      NASA?

    42. Alex Hemsky
      July 27, 2010 at

      “And as someone who lived in Winnipeg during the exodus, you won’t understand how badly the city suffered. I don’t have stats to back it up, only what I saw. Businesses closed down, fewer big events coming to town…it was not a fun time.”

      It’s a moot point because the oilers aren’t going anywhere but I have to call BS on this. Which Winnipeg businesses closed down? The area around the old arena has seen a ton of new development since the Jets left. Fewer big events? I think you’re smoking the drapes.

      If you’re arguing that Winnipeg’s collective egos took a hit then yes, I’ll agree. But beyond bruised egos the dark age you suggest just didn’t happen.

    43. July 27, 2010 at

      The interview was with Paranych? Awesome. He keeps showing up at things and praising Katz’s vision.

      This may be the first time I’ve ever heard someone try to argue that public transit contribute to urban sprawl.

      It’s actually a fairly common argument. If you keep building infrastructure like public transit in remote areas in a city, it provides a disincentive to move closer to the core. Pretty basic stuff, really. If I’m a University student, for example, and I know that the LRT now goes all the way out to 23rd ave, and can get me to campus in 20 minutes, I’m adding that to my places where I might live, whereas before I might just look at Whyte Ave and the University area. You want public transit in a city, but it has to be matched with further disincentives to drive and move to remote areas. Just plopping an LRT station or bus stop down anywhere doesn’t do the trick.

      The option of living downtown if suitable housing were available would be extremely attractive.

      Just to be clear, there is lots of housing to the north east and the west of Vic Comp. It’s not condos, either. It’s housing. What makes it unsuitable for Godot10 other than the fact that he doesn’t like the type of people who live there, I don’t know.

    44. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Pete:

      On the urban sprawl thing, and I can only speak for myself …

      I’m an urbane person, and after living away from Alberta for a decade I moved to Edmonton. We took a short lease on an apartment in Oliver, a neighbourhood just west of downtown, this while we decided where to live.

      I mean in Toronto, where I lived a bit before that, the city centre was a wasteland at night. You could safely fire a cannon down most streets. It’s a dull town, even though people there seem to be unwilling to acknowledge that fact.

      I thought that Edmonton couldn’t possibly be worse in this regard, and was spectacularly wrong. There was no urban life in Edmonton at all, none. Plus my wife got bowled over by some guy fleeing the scene of a pharmacy robbery, and his two pursuers as well. So the die was cast … off to the suburbs.

      We bought a place in a southern neighbourhood call Twin Brooks. If you don’t know where that is, it doesn’t matter. If you woke up there with amnesia, on a pleasant day in May … you could be in any city in North America. It’s suburbia, in all it’s spectacular blandness. I died a month for every day I lived there, I just couldn’t take it. Everyone is different, and that wasn’t for me.

      So we moved to the country. An acreage as western Canadians and Americans would say. It’s terrific, and you just can’t get this sort of thing in a larger centre, the commute would be hell.

      Flying over Edmonton, you realize just how many people ended up with the same idea. I think this still has room to grow, too. A tonne of room.

      Ever flown over Minneapolis? That must be somewhere between Edmonton and Toronto in terms of mid-sized cities, and that acreage sprawl is freaking endless. Some commutes from hell there. Still, it’s not going to stop anytime soon in Edmonton. There is nice country surrounding the city and a tonne of room to grow in that regard.

      Looking at places that have built central sadiums recently … D.C, Philadelphia and Baltimore have a fantastic sprawl, they essentially melt into each other.

      Montreal has a physical barrier, the bridges, so it has a real urban scene. Vancouver to a certain extent as well, because the geography and poor urban planning have conspired to create commuting hell. Sensibly, that’s not going to happen here, downtown stadium or not.

    45. godot10
      July 27, 2010 at

      Edmonton taxpayers built a $200 million dollar overpass for South Edmonton Common. South Edmonton Common didn’t pay for it

      Revitalizing the northern downtown is feasible because critical mass is possible. You need:
      1) Post-secondary education institutions to attract young people (a growing Grant McEwen and NAIT)
      2) Good public schools (Edmonton has a internationally lauded public school system).
      3) A hospital (Royal Alex)
      4) Relatively close to cultural amenities downtown with good mass transit.
      5) And then you have to fill in the holes and gaps with new development so that the remaining neighborhoods will gentrify.
      6) The arena district and the airport lands redevelopment will fill the critical holes, and a critical mass should be reached that will allow the older neighborhoods to gentrify.

      The only way the arena is NOT a white elephant is to have a successful arena district. And if it actually triggers greater redevelopment than it in combination with the other elements mentioned above have the potential to create a sequence of postive feed back loops.

      The 105th street site is an arena site only, not an arena district site. Too small a footprint. A standalon arena is a white elephant. Katz’s site choice choose to fill a strategic hole in the general wasteland of downtown that has much more potential for creating postive feedback loops in additional development than the 105th St site would do.

    46. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Off topic a bit, but something that really grates my tit is all these folks who come out of the woodwork to regale us with stories of arena neighbourhood rejuvenation stories from the US.

      If anyone posts a story like that, they should be required by internet code to walk eight blocks from said arena after a game. The direction to be determined by random chance. And they should be required to provide live video feeds, through their phones, this so we can get a real sense of their terror, Blair
      Witch style.

      I would advise walking with a steady rhythm. Act confidently, as if you’re there on purpose. Like you’ve come there to kill someone, and you also have an appointment later that you don’t want to miss.

      The video feed is what we want, though.

    47. July 27, 2010 at

      Revitalizing the northern downtown is feasible because critical mass is possible.

      I agree with almost everything you wrote in that list, but you simply will not add critical mass with an arena. That stadium will be full for only half the year, and even then only for 4-6 hours a night. People keep raving about all the possible nightlife that will spring up around the area. Even if it’s true, what about the morning after? I’m all for having a busier, denser downtown, but we won’t get it by putting a big, mostly empty stadium in that space.

    48. Quain
      July 27, 2010 at

      Godot, we get it, you’re a firm believer that the arena will help turn Edmonton into a Global Townhall of the Americas for Happiness. I think there’s room for disagreement in whether it’s true or not, but I think it’s an honest-to-god debateable point.

      The problem here is that this entire thing is a money-making scheme for Katz built on the back of some goodwill gesture towards the city. If Katz wants it funded by the government and is willing to guarantee a return of the cost to the taxpayers plus a small return on investment, it’s less objectionable. If Katz is willing to build the arena out of pocket if the city commits to all the other crap, it’s less objectionable. If Katz is willing to let the city build it, pay a usage fee for the Oilers, and let the city reap the rewards of having the Black Eyed Peas piss all over music for one night only, it’s less objectionable. (It’s still objectionable, but at least it’s not an obvious transfer of wealth.)

      But right now nothing of the sort is on the table — he wants free money on the off-chance that the arena will turn the area into Wrigleyville. I’m really not sure why he and his business plans are being taken any more seriously than if I showed up with a plan for a forty square mile jungle gym that would turn Edmonton into a global powerhouse.

      I just need someone to explain to me why:

      1. Buy me an Arena.
      2. ?????
      3. Profit!

      is an acceptable business plan for any government to endorse.

    49. July 27, 2010 at

      Watch the video here, Vic. You’ll enjoy.

    50. July 27, 2010 at

      That’s an interesting point, Vic. The neighborhoods where the arena was plopped into the middle of an already bustling area are much better off – Columbus, Washington D.C., New York…

      The “revitalization projects” seem to do the opposite. Glendale, AZ is still dead, Sunrise, FL is still empty, Buffalo is still dying, and the Civic Arena actually killed off two neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.

    51. Quain
      July 27, 2010 at

      I’m all for having a busier, denser downtown, but we won’t get it by putting a big, mostly empty stadium in that space.

      This. You get a strong downtown with density and smart planning. Condos/offices on streets with ground-level retail built in, good public transportion and as little wasted space as possible. An arena, and everything that it entails, are almost the opposite of what you want to build a successful downtown.

      Every plan I hear for rebuilding a city always seems to entail a parking garage every fifth buildng and two parking spaces for every condo. Basically, cram the worst elements of both places together (car-centricity of the suburbs with the tight space of the city) and, in the end, you get nothing anybody wants.

    52. Chris C
      July 27, 2010 at

      Uhhh… 91% of people want to live downtown? When I was growin’ up we used to call that, “bullshit on toast.”

    53. July 27, 2010 at

      I find the $250M price-tag to renovate Northlands questionable at best. Maple Leaf Gardens is being completely gutted and turned into a multi-use sports, recreation and retail centre for far less.

      As for the debate on livable downtowns, the June issue of the Atlantic has an interesting piece on urban redevelopment that’s worth a read:

      Urban-style housing in walkable neighborhoods—including those in the inner suburbs—is what’s in demand today. And for a variety of reasons, that demand will intensify in the coming years. Only by serving it can the country kick-start growth in an enormous and essential part of the economy.
      Yet the creation of new, attractive urban spaces is slow and difficult, and becomes all but impossible without substantial new infrastructure. Most of all, it relies on good transit options—especially rail links—around which walkable neighborhoods can develop. Rail, biking, and walking infrastructure is the backbone of urban development, and as a country we’ve for the most part neglected to build it in recent decades, in favor of new roads for new suburbs farther and farther away from metropolitan hubs. To support growth in the next decade, we need to change that dynamic—and nourish our walkable urban spaces and neighborhoods. Complicating matters, in these cash-strapped times we need to find a way to do so on the cheap.

      The rest of the article is here.

    54. edm_euler
      July 27, 2010 at

      Andy,

      I agree with Pete on LRT/sprawl. Moving some development into other areas along a major transit route isn’t the same as building houses and roads fanned out in every direction. It’s what some people with the city have been pushing for awhile now, “transit oriented development”.

      An arena (or another major attraction) would give those people additional incentive to live near transit routes: convenient and cheap access to more nightlife and events.

    55. July 27, 2010 at

      an’t fathom how you believe this to be the case; could you clarify a bit more?

      Detailed in the book ‘Green Metropolis’: basically if you keep stretching out transit and reducing the number of cars on the road there is no disincentive for the remaining drivers to change their habits re: commuting. As you increase the reach of transit and take marginal numbers of cars off the road you make it easier and more economical for more people to live farther away. Providing transit to far flung communities increases the utility of living farther from the core. There is a belief that improving transit gets people off the road which is only true until enough people get off the road that the remaining drivers don’t feel the need to, the result – more sprawl.

      A Park and Ride at Century Park doesn’t get people out of the suburbs it allows people in the suburbs to avoid the worst part of their commute while keeping the increased cost of sprawl, and encouraging more sprawl as long as the capacity of the system provides a less expensive or less inconvenient transportation option. Cheap house with subsidized transit = no reason to build closer.

    56. David S
      July 27, 2010 at

      I know alot of you guys don’t live in Edmonton so I can’t fault you for misinformation. But I do and I went to the arena presentation at the Art gallery, and spoke to the Oilers/arena people there. The plan calls for office towers, condo developments, and student housing on top of the resto-bars/theaters/ etc. That group of spokespeople included one of Edmonton’s major condo developers. I can tell you that he doesn’t get involved with anything if he doesn’t see some business upside in it for him.

      Like I said above, Paranych is one of several developers with plans to build in the area if this thing goes through. Not to mention the city having a plan to redevelop the squalor just east of city hall with a major project called “The Quarters”.

      I have no problem with Katz making money, nor do I have any beef with him negotiating for a favorable position because any of us would do exactly the same thing. At the end of the day, any profit he makes will most certainly be offset by additional development leading to the urban density lots of you are pushing for. Geez man, he’s putting up $200 MILLION for this thing.

      There’s way too much of the tired Edmonton “IF I don’t get it for free I don’t want it” thing going around. And don’t kid yourself, Northlands is pulling every string it can, including those embedded on city council, to make this thing go away.

    57. P-Ow
      July 27, 2010 at

      Edmonton taxpayers built a $200 million dollar overpass for South Edmonton Common. South Edmonton Common didn’t pay for it

      This is a poor analogy. I’m sure if Katz shelled out his own money to build the arena (like the owners of the properties in SEC did), the city would be more than happy to shell out the money to improve transit to the area (like, say, moving the LRT there).

      It’s also a disingenuous point, as that 23rd Ave overpass was pretty badly needed to facilitate commuter traffic as more people moved to the south side (like the overpasses being added to the Western stretch of the Henday have been badly needed as more people move west of it). It’s not simply an overpass for a shopping complex.

    58. July 27, 2010 at

      Edmonton taxpayers built a $200 million dollar overpass for South Edmonton Common. South Edmonton Common didn’t pay for it

      Yes, and everybody now has essentially unlimited access to that overpass for free, and there are large, unenclosed positive externalities accruing to drivers and transit users on other roads in the city. Sorry, but do you select these “Taxpayers built this and that!” examples with the specific goal of making yourself look like somebody who can’t spell “economics”?

    59. July 27, 2010 at

      “People keep raving about all the possible nightlife that will spring up around the area. Even if it’s true, what about the morning after? I’m all for having a busier, denser downtown, but we won’t get it by putting a big, mostly empty stadium in that space.”

      Not necessarily. However building a large venue Downtown leverages existing infrastructure and prevents expensive contingencies later (see South Common Traffic Realignment).

      Why is the Art Gallery downtown? The Winspear Centre? The Citadel? The Shaw Conference Centre? The Chain Hotels?

      Using the ‘empty building’ argument works the other way – we won’t get density building anything outside of downtown that sits vacant 50% of the time (like the houses there). The space downtown is underutilized and having 50 nights a year of great business will help keep restaurants, bars, etc… open the remaining 316 nights a year, making it more desirable to live in or near the area. It also uses slack capacity after the CBD shuts down for the day and keeps that infrastructure working at night (roads, transit, etc…)

    60. kris
      July 27, 2010 at

      “The plan calls for office towers, condo developments, and student housing on top of the resto-bars/theaters/ etc. That group of spokespeople included one of Edmonton’s major condo developers. I can tell you that he doesn’t get involved with anything if he doesn’t see some business upside in it for him.

      Like I said above, Paranych is one of several developers with plans to build in the area if this thing goes through. Not to mention the city having a plan to redevelop the squalor just east of city hall with a major project called “The Quarters””

      A bunch of crappy condos will be built. No one is denying it.

      The question is whether that’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidies which could be spent in other ways.

      Moreover, these kinds of downtown developments don’t always turn into healthy, thriving, urban-living neighborhood. They sometimes turn into shit holes. The presence of an arena and the “nightlife” it brings is not a key piece of a great inner-city neighborhood. If anything, it’s a problem.

      I have no problem with Katz making money, nor do I have any beef with him negotiating for a favorable position because any of us would do exactly the same thing…. Geez man, he’s putting up $200 MILLION for this thing. There’s way too much of the tired Edmonton “IF I don’t get it for free I don’t want it” thing going around.

      Jesus Christ, this is the exact stupidity that Tyler was talking about at the beggining of his post. It’s like te stupid was transmitted via radio waves from Stauffer to you.

    61. Little Fury
      July 27, 2010 at

      The question of whether Katz’s Downtown Pleasure Palace will serve to revitalize DT Edmonton largely hinges upon the answer to the question of what the development will look like. Looking at the examples set by Columbus and LA Live, that answer is probably “Like shit.”

      I’m having a real hard time squaring the idea of an entertainment district, the centrepieces of which will be a monolithic hockey rink, a casino and vast tracts of chain restaurants, with the vision of downtown as a New Urbanist’s wet dream with cafes, poetry slams, parks and a range of incomes and demographics living and working around the place.

    62. Quain
      July 27, 2010 at

      Geez man, he’s putting up $200 MILLION for this thing.

      What’s the cost of this arena? $350MM? From now on, I want you to pay 43% of all my expenses. I’m putting up 57%, you should be glad I’m allowing you to subsidize the rest. Maybe this sandwich will fill me up before I finish, you can have the rest. It’s trickle down, BE GLAD I’m this kind.

      Rent check is due Monday, I’ll expect your share in the mail.

    63. kris
      July 27, 2010 at

      I’m an urbane person, and… I moved to Edmonton.

      One of these conjuncts must be false.

      It’s like saying “I like my privacy and I moved to Mumbai” or “I’m not a Pseudo-cowboy douche and I moved to Calgary”

      (Kidding)

    64. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Derek said:

      “That’s an interesting point, Vic. The neighborhoods where the arena was plopped into the middle of an already bustling area are much better off – Columbus, Washington D.C., New York…”

      Actually I was thinking of DC as I typed that. There is no doubt that the area in the immediate vicinity is hopping before and after a game. If you want to wait for ages for bad tapas at spectacular prices … that should be your go-to place. Some hopping bars afterwards as well.

      Before our first girl was born, me and my wife went there for a weekend. To visit the Smithsonian museums mostly (yes, I’m a nerd … bite me) and we were both going to be on the east coast that week anyways, so what the hell. Canadian museums, including those in Ottawa, are terrible, they are aimed at children. So this was something different.

      We happened upon Caps fans while wandering, turns out we were near the MCI centre … so we went to a game for the hell of it.

      We were staying in one of those little boutique hotels that are so popular in that area now. I guessed we were about 10 blocks away, what the hell, let’s walk it …

      Sweet baby Jesus, bad idea. Three blocks and it’s flat steel doors and razor wire around the backyard wall. And the street lights had burnt out, or stopped working for whatever reason. And who the hell puts razor wire up? Is that even legal in any other country outside of the US or South America? In any case we went back a block and got a cab.

      I’ll leave Quain to tell you about Chicago Stadium, another story of mine that is time-warped. Years later I spoke with the brother of John S, a reputable bookie from Calgary, he worked as a resident in a nearby hospital in that era, he said that the people in that neighbourhood are so poor that it’s unlikely I would have been shot. Beaten to death with a brick, the neighbourhood’s weapon of choice … that could have happened. The cool thing about that area at that time was that you could go from corner to corner by policeman. It’s like old movies, there was always a cop under a light. Made for a wandering path, but you could make it through.

      People compare these American cities to the third world. They are spectacularly wrong. There is human decency in the third world. Just is.

      A few years later I happened to be in Chicago on the day that O.J. Simpson was acquitted.

      Suffice it to say I’m not a big fan of Chicago. I await Quain’s rebuttal. Hopefully he convinces me otherwise.

    65. spOILer
      July 27, 2010 at

      Coach PB says:

      //Is there ever a good case for public funding for private enterprise?//

      NASA?

      NASA is a private enterprise?

    66. July 27, 2010 at

      I know alot of you guys don’t live in Edmonton so I can’t fault you for misinformation.

      Lived here my whole life. And I was at that presentation, too. We all know what the Oilers are promising. You seem content with taking their word at face value. Lots of us don’t, especially since the independent economic research on this stuff shows that it rarely if ever works. Did you ask them when they plan on having all that “revitalizing” done, btw? Because Don Iveson asked them in council chambers, and their answer was “we can’t guarantee anything.”

      Why is the Art Gallery downtown? The Winspear Centre? The Citadel? The Shaw Conference Centre? The Chain Hotels?

      You’ve just proved our point. Most of those buildings have been downtown for years, acting as “anchor tenants.” How much “revitalizing” has occurred around them? How many people are in that area of downtown after 6 p.m. most nights of the week?

    67. spOILer
      July 27, 2010 at

      Location to me is irrelevant. If it’s out in the Burbs, it makes travel to games and concerts difficult for the remaining three corners of the city. If it’s downtown then it’s difficult for all the sprawl and easier for all the inners.

      I don’t see much advantage to the surrounding districts by having nights of heavy traffic issues and loud drunken fans wandering about. People with families don’t buy houses near these sorts of things. The arena would be good if you are a bar owner, or perhaps a convenience store owner, or a restaurant owner rpior to the game, and maybe even a gas bar owner, but who else is going to benefit?

      An arena isn’t going to make families move there, not going to make people shop there, go to movies there, walk the neighborhood there, go to dance or pottery classes nearby… none of that.

      It seems to me that people are pushing the downtown location because it is a way for Katz to leverage money out of taxpayers. Downtown=alleged need for revitalization and there’s a man willing to put his own money into revitalization therefore taxpayers should help out.

      Huh?

      That stinks of command economy bullshit. You want to misallocate taxpayer’s money have the government spend a bundle on something the market wouldn’t do itself.

      If the downtown is a good idea, the market will make it work. Other developers will invest, banks will offer financing, etc.

      I suspect Katz has his hand out for a couple of reasons:

      1. He doesn’t have enough money himself for a project this large and/or he’s already heavily leveraged through drugstore expansion and Oiler purchase

      2. He’d rather have taxpayers as partners because then he can retain more control, overcome inevitable cost over-runs without financing and partnership issues and make more profit that won’t be shared in by his “partner”.

      That type of partnership is not something the taxpayer or government should be providing. Unless we like to throw our money away, in which case, by all means.

    68. spOILer
      July 27, 2010 at

      Commonwealth Stadium sure perked up McDougall and Parkdale. Sheesh, Little Italy and the Italian Centre has probably done more. Yet somehow they happened without the taxpayers picking up the tab.

    69. David S
      July 27, 2010 at

      One of two things is going to happen. Either the city will spend $200M on revamping RX1 or they’ll spend (roughly) the same amount for the downtown arena and all the other stuff that comes along with it. If you assume one of those possibilities will occur, where is that money best spent? Where will the most spin-off development occur?

      Andy – I asked about the development itself as I happen to know about some of the other stuff in store. The question you and Iveson ask is baiting because you both know there can’t be an answer until the project is approved. That’s why Katz wants to get this going. He needs to provide some tangibility to his investors so they’ll be able to commit (and I can’t get why people don’t understand this).

      And yeah. Nothing wrong with making a profit, or trying to maximize that profit. ANY of us would do the same thing. That’s not “stupidity”. Its life.

    70. July 27, 2010 at

      “You’ve just proved our point. Most of those buildings have been downtown for years, acting as “anchor tenants.” How much “revitalizing” has occurred around them? How many people are in that area of downtown after 6 p.m. most nights of the week?”

      Andy, you’re building a straw man out of red herrings. Before we discuss what revitalization is can you define what it is?

      Is it population growth?

      Downtown Edmonton Population:

      Year Total Source
      1986 5,050 Federal Census
      1991 5,395 Federal Census
      1996 5,130 Federal Census
      2001 6,175 Federal Census
      2005 9,027 Municipal Census
      2008 10,359 Municipal Census
      2009 11,572 Municipal Census

      Is it Commercial Occupancy?

      1995 OS Vacancy Rate ~18%
      2007 OS Vacancy Rate ~5%

      http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/InfraPlan/Land%20Use%20Information/Vacancy%20Rates.pdf

      What else? The same City Council that doesn’t seem to want the biggest entertainment venue in the city to be built downtown couldn’t approve a taxpayer funded art gallery there fast enough or to spend tens of millions on a new LRT line linking NAIT/Kingsway/St Albert with Downtown.

      BTW, the Art Gallery is New, as is the Winspear (in the grand scheme of things). Cheap oil made cheap housing cheaper by building it far away, that’s changed and will never change back. Building outside the core might have looked good in the ’90′s and early oughts but that’s over for good.

      As for Nightlife, take a walk down there some night, it’s not great but it’s getting better.

    71. Tyler Dellow
      July 27, 2010 at

      David S.

      In fairness, I don’t think anyone has criticized for Katz for wanting to make a profit. All of us would do the same. I don’t blame him for trying to extract city dollars – I’d do it to.

      What does bother me is the badmouthing of Edmonton and the veiled threats that the team would leave. I also don’t like all of the people running around repeating their terrible arguments.

      And Pat Laforge. Don’t like him either.

    72. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Tyler said:

      “What does bother me is the badmouthing of Edmonton and the veiled threats that the team would leave.”

      I have a hunch that, for a hundred million dollars or so, you’d do the same.

      We’re all whores, Tyler. It’s only ever about the price.

    73. David S
      July 27, 2010 at

      Tyler

      Yeah. They’ve made some bad moves from an optics perspective (as much as I hate to use that word). There’s at least one member of their own committee who admits as much. My guess is it’s Katz’ first go-around in the public forum. I can’t remember if you do corporate law, but if you do you know that the gloves really come off in those negotiations (in fact, its almost expected). You can’t pull off the same sort of shit in the public forum. There’s far to much CYA to go that route.

      My feeling is the city WANTS to be involved financially, but they don’t want to look too eager because an election is coming up.

    74. Chris Cziborr
      July 27, 2010 at

      “I just need someone to explain to me why:

      1. Buy me an Arena.
      2. ?????
      3. Profit!”

      Same as the Underpants Gnomes from South Park:

      1. Collect Underpants
      2. ?????
      3. Profit!

      Hope that cleared up any confusion on this matter.

    75. Chris Cziborr
      July 27, 2010 at

      Look, Stauffer and his ilk won’t rest until taxpayers are picking up the tab for the Oilers’ payroll along with shiny new arenas. Just you wait!

      He’s consistently over the past few months referred to Glendale picking up the tab on Coyotes’ payroll as, “stepping up.” They’re obviously not stepping up to their taxpayers, and the city is running in the red, last time I checked.

      Get that, kids? It’s not enough to get fleeced to buy your billionaire team owners shiny new arenas while the team enjoys all the financial benefits. Now your local team mouthpieces also think you’re not “stepping up” unless you cover their payrolls as well! If you don’t “step up” you obviously don’t care and you want to be Winnipeg. No ad hominem attacks here!

    76. July 27, 2010 at

      spOILer brings up a good point. If you go to bars on Whyte Ave, Sherwood Park, or even WEM, you get a big influx after each Oilers game of people coming from the game.

      Notice that there are bars around the game: End Zone pub is next to Commonwealth too, but its a rare Esks game that I visit that hole more as something to do. You go to the game, then you go to the place you want to go: travelling from the game to the pub is less an issue than travelling from the pub home (along with being cheaper, drinks at the pub are served until closing, not after the second intermission).

      Oilers games are good news for bars. Probably less good news for all the construction companies and welding shops that suffer lost productivity the next day that they wouldn’t if the team wasn’t playing on a school night. But those are bars across town: if you build better and bigger bars near the arena you might lure people away from their neighbourhood pub. Yay, then they get to drive home from there.

      A certain number of tourists would likely come to Edmonton area just for the game. An arena development might get more money from them than tourists would spend in the current configuration. Somehow I doubt it will be worth $400 million plus interest.

    77. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      “Same as the Underpants Gnomes from South Park”

      I’m intrigued, tell me more.

      Bob Stauffer was telling me the other day that Underpants Gnomes are the potential saviours of our city. He says only fags and communists oppose the new Underpants Gnome $400 million dollar partnership with the City. It’s a bit vague how this works, but I’m inclined to think it’s a good thing.

      I mean nice-but-dim Bob wouldn’t lead me astray, would he?

    78. Deano
      July 27, 2010 at

      I have no problem with:

      a) The City of Edmonton decides to revitalize downtown by securing $300MM of financing for all of the developers who will build the housing and commercial buildings but without any arena. If its such a good idea, it should be able to stand on its own.

      b) The Katz Group builds an arena for the Oilers to play in with their own damn money.

      Using the benefits of the first initiative to sell the financing for the second initiative is morally repugnant. The politicians in favor of squandering taxpayer money in this fashion should be thrown out into other careers as fast as possible.

    79. Deano
      July 27, 2010 at

      Sorry not quite clear – If revitalization is such a good idea, it should be able to stand on its own.

    80. July 27, 2010 at

      Bob recently had Tom and Jon Stanfield on the show and asked them the hard-hitting question “So is there really anything wrong with collecting underpants in the privacy of one’s own home?”

    81. July 27, 2010 at

      NASA is a private enterprise?

      Not technically, but for all of the subcontractors that they employ, it’s only a technicality

      Sweet baby Jesus, bad idea. Three blocks and it’s flat steel doors and razor wire around the backyard wall. And the street lights had burnt out, or stopped working for whatever reason. And who the hell puts razor wire up? Is that even legal in any other country outside of the US or South America? In any case we went back a block and got a cab.

      That particular area is no longer like that. You can walk freely at night.

    82. July 27, 2010 at

      The question you and Iveson ask is baiting

      No, it’s not. The entire project is based upon their supposition that this will revitalize downtown by bringing in all this development. It’s entirely reasonable, therefore, to ask them how they can guarantee such development. The fact is, they can’t. We all know they can’t. It’s an impossible task. Which is why this arguments holds no water. They have absolutely no way of guaranteeing this will be done “the right way.” Even if one accepts that Columbus, LA and San Diego have done anything more than move money from one place to another, those examples are outliers. They are the very few that have worked amidst the ton that haven’t. Even in San Diego the Chargers stadium deal has turned into a debacle, with the city losing $17 million a year while the Chargers rake in cash. The fact of the matter is that the evidence is pretty one-sided.

    83. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Andy,

      That’s good stuff today at your blog. Damn, you make an effort, most of us just watch the Oilers do stupid things, then we yell at the internet.

      Some balls on you, too.

    84. tatsuke
      July 27, 2010 at

      The question is simple: where has building an arena EVER worked as a downtown revitalization anchor?

      Unless you’re reading promotional material, the answer is hardly ever. For all proponents, please give me a source (and in return I’ll give you two where it didn’t work). Occasionally a good city planner will use an arena in conjunction with other development and actually get it right. Of course, the arena is usually publicly owned in these instances.

      What’s completely bizarre about this “argument” is that there is a TON of academic literature on this subject and it’s as close to unanimous as you’re ever going to get. What is there to debate?

    85. July 27, 2010 at

      You should check out where Tampa plays. Dead zone. Absolutely. When we lived in Clearwater my wife and I went to a game. It was pretty scary and that sort of scene doesn’t bother me that much.

      BTW Ty, said it before, this is dynamite stuff.

      Like a lot of the commenters here I don’t really have a dog in this other than the fact that this whole process points to some general ineptitude on the part of the Oilers, the unfortunate situation involving a lot of the ‘media’ covering them and of course the absolutely disgusting persona of Pat LaForge. God waht a douche. Anyhow that is really the main issue I have. I wish there was a little less pussyfooting around, a little less posturing, a little less bullshit. You want a new arena, Katz. Just lay your cards on the table. I’m a bit of a rube when it comes to all of this ‘negotiation’ I guess.

      Also annoying, people who say that anyone who disagrees with the whole idea are idiots. Of course these are pretty well the same people who thought Lowe was a genius until recently and that Lupul is awesome so what can you do?

      As for the whole ‘people don’t want to live downtown’ argument I guess the question is what constitutes downtown. If, for example, in Toronto you’re talking the business district then, well, there’s really nowhere to live except for condos. If you’re talking about the larger urban area from where you can bike, walk, rollerblade to work downtown, a few kilometres from the bank towers, then I would say plenty of folks do. May be just a misunderstanding of the word downtown but for friends I know who live in the burbs or outside of Toronto I live downtown. As do most of my friends.

      Neither here nor there I guess.

      I guess I am a Torontonian now (gag) although the new inlaws at another cousin’s wedding this past weekend probably think of me as hillbilly like the rest of my family but here’s my two cents as someone who has been here for the building of the Dome and the ACC. The area around the Dome was no wasteland before but I would say that it became a bit more ‘happening’ – basically some sports bars and chain restos moved in, a couple of pickup joints as well.

      As for the ACC well it was built in a bit of a no mans land. Union Station right there, the Gardiner too. So while nothing much has happened around it there was no room for anything to happen really.

    86. Woodguy
      July 27, 2010 at

      Even if one accepts that Columbus, LA and San Diego have done anything more than move money from one place to another, those examples are outliers.

      Are they outliers of the old model or examples of a new model on how to actually make stuff like this work?

      I think its the latter, but some (like Columbus) are still full of subsidies.

      Even in San Diego the Chargers stadium deal has turned into a debacle, with the city losing $17 million a year while the Chargers rake in cash.

      This is actually a great example for the “new model”. The Charger stadium was built in the middle of acres of parking. Old model, failure was guaranteed. It failed in the same city that the new model is working. A good example of the model not being city dependent.

    87. Mike W
      July 27, 2010 at

      Unless you’re reading promotional material, the answer is hardly ever. For all proponents, please give me a source (and in return I’ll give you two where it didn’t work)

      On top of that, after 1990 they are almost always privately funded. GAAAH, the monorail debate on the Simpsons was less frustrating than this.

    88. Vic Ferrari
      July 27, 2010 at

      Monorail? Hrmm. Now that’s an idea I can get behind. Edmonton would be a world class city then, like Disney World!

      Will it pay for itself? How much money are you going to need, Mike? And for fucksakes don’t tell Grabia about this, he’ll piss on all our dreams.

    89. The Other John
      July 27, 2010 at

      Here are City Council’s questions for Northlands, Katz Group and City Administration

      http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/cache/2/guboff45x1d3ai55fgy1qn3u/5492807272010081811898.PDF

      From a quick review the Oilers are NOT going to like the questions asked by Linda Sloan, Don Iveson and some of the Q asked by Karen Leibovici. In fact I suspect the Oilers response to some of L Sloan’s question may to tell her no answer will be forthcoming.

    90. David S
      July 27, 2010 at

      http://www.revitalizedowntown.ca/columbus/

      Yeah OK. For every win there’s probably countless losses. Still, I prefer to believe that we can figure out how to win rather than walk away because we’re afraid of losing.

      The other reality in Edmonton’s case still stands. ≈ $250 Million will be spent, either renovating Rexall or downtown for the arena complex. Of the two options, where do you think that cash will be better spent? If that $250M triggers $1.5 Billion in development (the approximate size of the entire arena district), pleas tell me how this is a bad thing.

    91. David S
      July 28, 2010 at

      Andy – if we all know Katz can’t guarantee the amount of development (at this time), and we still ask the question, its baiting.

      He can’t go out and get partners until he gets some level of assurance the project will go ahead. What idiot would commit himself to (potentially) hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment without knowing shovels are going to hit the ground? Why wouldn’t he go elsewhere to other projects that are more tangible. Its not like this sort of cash just sits around. Its always committed or it’s not making a return. Iveson knows this, yet he still asks the question.

    92. The Other John
      July 28, 2010 at

      Dave S

      The city’s contribution will not be $250 million.

      What most people against this project fear is that the Oilers will have very nice FREE arena with the confiscated Northlands concert business. And the citizens of Edmonton will have a $350 million dollar debt with no revenue to service the debt. At that point in time we are screwed but at least the Oilers will have “maximized their revenue stream”.

      Are you going to get even a little upset when we finally find out that all of Oiler’s $100 million dollar contribution to the new arena is coming from Personal Seat Licenses paid by season ticket holders….such that they put ZERO money into the project? 100% other peoples money

    93. July 28, 2010 at

      Still, I prefer to believe that we can figure out how to win rather than walk away because we’re afraid of losing

      Vegas would love you, baby.

    94. July 28, 2010 at

      David S, did you really just post that link to the Katz Group page? I am going to have some fun with you, my friend. :)

      The other reality in Edmonton’s case still stands. ≈ $250 Million will be spent, either renovating Rexall or downtown for the arena complex.

      This is a dichotomy I do not accept. It’s as false a dichotomy as “downtown arena or you don’t want to develop downtown.” I don’t want public dollars being used for either. Nor do I think it’s necessary. If private sports franchises can’t make the economics work, they should do what the rest of us do, which is fix their business model or get out of that business.

    95. David S
      July 28, 2010 at

      Andy – Nobody questions that RX1 needs a refurbishing. Who’s gonna pay for it? Northlands? Nope – they’re a “non-profit” group. They’ll get the cash from the city and other levels of government. Well then, maybe Katz? Yeah…no.

      Either way, some form public dollars WILL be spent. Thus it becomes a matter of where the cash will do the most good.

      Other John – Katz’ $100M + CRL + Ticket tax ≈ $150M – $200M. The rest is public financing. Total cost for the ARENA ≈ $400M. That’s where I’m getting the numbers from.

      One more thing. I wonder if the Katz end game IS to finance the whole thing. Make no bones about it, the city wants to be involved and I think Northlands is the lynchpin. Maybe Katz wants to make it look like he tried his damndest to make it work, but in the end he HAD to go on his own. That would give him every excuse to shut out Northlands because “he had no choice”.

    96. David S
      July 28, 2010 at

      BTW – Andy, the work on your new site is outstanding.

    97. Tyler Dellow
      July 28, 2010 at

      1. I don’t understand why PSL’s are being regarded as other people’s money. The Oilers are selling something, people would buy it. If they can’t sell enough, they’ll have to write a cheque.

      2. I think that Katz needs Northlands and the City because he doesn’t want Rexall I hanging around as a competitor to his new venue for concerts and the like. At a minimum, he would seem to me to need Rexall I to get shut down.

    98. July 28, 2010 at

      Ty,

      There’s actually a fan suing the Jets and Giants over PSLs. And a judge gave it the go-ahead. Here’s a link.

    99. The Other John
      July 28, 2010 at

      Tyler

      I refer to it as other peoples money because if Katz is bringing no money to equation, just say so. Upfront. We repeatedly hear that Katz is bringing not $100 but $200 million to the project. If the PSL generates the first $100m, he is not bringing the first $100m to the table his season ticket holders are. If the commercial development does not proceed expeditiously, maybe not the other $100m either

      Now a PSL has some attraction and is more equitable because it is user pay. The users of the facility pay for it directly. I might??? pay ten grand for the rights to buy a pair of tickets but suspect many won’t.

      Dave S: the CRL is part of the public financing. We borrow the money and get paid back as (if??) the area generates taxes.

    100. David S
      July 28, 2010 at

      Other John – Fair enough. I made the assumption that with no development there’s no CRL, although you’re right that it does come from the public side of the equation but technically it’s part of the finance proposal. Still, the city gets all the tax revenue from that new development where parking lots currently exist.

      At the end of the day, to my mind the city should look to reach a break-even scenario with the excess benefits being the intangibles. Mandel has stated repeatedly there won’t be any additional tax burden (direct), although if they borrow cash for their end obviously it depletes their credit line.

    101. Chris C
      July 28, 2010 at

      Not exactly a newsflash here, but in general Team Katz is making an awful lot of assumptions. The CRL idea, as Andy G and others (most notably in the Edmonton Journal) have pointed out, requires a lot of assumptions.

      Then there’s the assumption that Edmonton will have no problem filling all the office space slated to get built by this grand plan. Never mind the tens of thousands of square feet of AAA rated office space the new Epcor building soon adds. Or the thousands of office jobs recently lost thanks to layoffs by companies like Sunlife. Demand for office space in Edmonton isn’t very high right now and looks to stay soft in the near term.

      And what’s the deal with Katz continually pointing to the provincial and federal governments as “likely” funding sources? Haven’t the Stelmach and Harper regimes both made it clear they won’t be giving one red cent to the proposed arena? Am I missing something here? I realize people can change their minds, but sheesh. If Harper starts giving us money he’ll have to give money to Calgary, Winnipeg, Quebec City et al. Sure, Stelmach could change his mind and help Edmonton and Calgary out with their proposed arenas, but isn’t this all an obvious case of counting one’s chickens before they hatch?

      Finally, there’s the colossal assumption that the arena will only cost $400-ish million. Sure, it *might* end up costing “only” that much. However, cost overruns of 30% are pretty typical for projects of this size.

    102. Chris Cziborr
      July 28, 2010 at

      Signs Edmonton’s sports dark age may be drawing to a close:

      - after four consecutive years of missing the playoffs, topped off by a last-place season finish for 2010, the Oilers draft Taylor Hall
      - professional soccer returns to Edmonton next year (no snickering, please!); and
      - Andy Grabia starts blogging about sports again.

      Then the Esks go 0-4, undercutting my argument.

      *GRUMBLE*

      :/

    103. Chris Cziborr
      July 28, 2010 at

      Tyler, sorry for all these consecutive posts, but I think you made an error in the first sentence of your otherwise excellent post.

      Bob Stauffer abandoned all pretense of being a journalist long, long before 1:50PM MST on July 26, 2010.

    104. till_horcoff_is_coach
      July 28, 2010 at

      What if city council proposed the PSL as a means of paying for part of the facility? If Katz objects that it should be for him, then he can no longer claim his philanthropic gesture.

    105. NewAlgier
      July 28, 2010 at

      I don’t understand. A new arena should of course be built, and Katz should build it with his own money because he’s a private investor and will own the equity return. What is so hard about this?

      “He can’t make money without taxpayers kicking in.” Then taxpayers should build it, as the risk capital, and own the equity return, and pay Katz a management fee in an arms-length, publicly tendered deal. Oh, that’s unattractive? Hmm.

      Then it seems to me, all Katz has to do to earn his return is get the costs under control. David S, why does the government need to be involved in real estate deals? Why ought I, as a taxpayer, take all of the risk and none of the return? Why do I need to depend on “intangibles” when Katz can count on cash in his jeans?

      I’ve negotiated a few deals in my life. I’ve evaluated a whole lot more. This arena deal is appalling.

      Let me tell you, David S, about a fundamental rule of making deals in the real world: Never be somebody else’s exit strategy. Never enter a deal where your partner gets rich before you do. And never guarantee your partner’s behaviour.

    106. Mike W
      July 28, 2010 at

      Bob Stauffer abandoned all pretense of being a journalist long, long before 1:50PM MST on July 26, 2010.

      Zing!

    107. July 28, 2010 at

      What if city council proposed the PSL as a means of paying for part of the facility?

      This is what city admin are proposing.

    108. The Other John
      July 29, 2010 at

      Agreed Andy

      I anticipate that at some point we will be told that the PSL is Katz’s TOTAL contribution to the new arena.. Not in addition to his oft repeated $100 million contribution to the arena but instead of.

      At which point all the money for the arena will be coming from Edmontonians

    109. David S
      July 29, 2010 at

      @ NewAlgier

      I think it was Andy who posted an article/link at BoA by either Humphries or Mason that mentioned it might make sense for government to have some skin in the game because they’d have some say over the development, and in this case, what role Northlands plays. Of course there’s zoning laws and such, but if the developer goes it alone and adheres to the zoning parameters he can pretty much do whatever he wants. Given this is such a high-profile venture, the city may want to be in the game to keep an eye on things. That’s what I remember anyways, although it makes some sense to me.

      Then there’s the fact that the city may want to provide the kick start because the long-term tax revenue stream is hard to turn down. Maybe Katz is trying to find the point at which the city feels comfortable participating. He doesn’t want to go in too high and over commit his own cash, so he’s seeking the deal point by intentionally going in with the lowball offer. He’s already raised the game with another $100M and I bet he’s prepared to up that offer again.

      Assuming a modicum of intelligence on behalf of Katz (given he’s a freaking billionaire already) there appears to be two possible games at stake:

      a) He’s seeking the city’s participation point

      b) He’s going through the motions for the city to set up a situation whereby he DOES pay for the whole thing. Then he cuts out Northlands altogether and the city can say they tried but couldn’t make it happen. Then they’re absolved of any responsibility for Northlands. Make no mistake, if this thing goes through and Northlands doesn’t get into the game, they are in big trouble as they make gajillions from the non-hockey related arena business.

    110. NewAlgier
      July 30, 2010 at

      @David S.
      Katz is a freakin’ billionaire. I’ve met one or two, and the guys I met rarely had a sense of how much luck played into their success. Reagan’s Cadillac-driving welfare queens have nothing on them, in terms of entitlement. You might want to think about how much we, as human beings, attribute positive motives to those who have been successful in the past, and how much luck played into that success. Check out “The Halo Effect” http://www.the-halo-effect.com/book/index.html.

      Anyway, you are willing to negotiate from a terrible starting base. I am not. Study after study shows that the starting point affects the outcome of the negotiation, regardless of how unreasonable that starting point is. The starting point is that he pays for the arena and development, in my world.

      Northlands can take care of themselves, or not. The politician’s responsibility is to the people who elected her.

      “Participation” in a building in which the taxpayer owns all of the risk and none of the return is economically irrational. How much of your own money, from your own bank account, are you willing to pay to pick the bathroom tile in the new facility?

    111. David S
      July 30, 2010 at

      The city (through Mandel) has already signaled they really, really, really want this project to happen.

      If I know a guy wants to sell his car in the worst way, I’ll test him by throwing out a ridiculous offer below his asking price. He might take it, but the purpose is to get him talking. Then you work up to a price he can stomach. However, if I walk in and give him his asking price right off the hop, I’ve probably paid to much.

      Katz just doesn’t want to leave any of (his own) money on the table. The fact that the city hasn’t told him to piss off already tells me he started negotiating at the right place.

      The purpose of the opening offer isn’t to seal the deal, it’s to start the conversation.

    112. David S
      July 30, 2010 at

      BTW. I used to know Daryl a little bit back in the day. The only luck he had along the way was being the son of a well-to-do Edmonton businessman. He took over his dad’s local pharmacy chain of 6 stores and grew it from there. You’ve got to assume he had a few brain cells to get from where he started to where he is now.

    113. April 25, 2011 at

      Re: mc79hockey.com – Someone has to get fired for these C. Campbell emails. I suggest S. Tambellini. » If anyone tracks these things… thanks, I enjoyed reading it, got an insight or two!

    114. September 29, 2011 at

      What i don’t realize is in reality how you’re now not actually a lot more well-preferred than you may be now. You’re so intelligent. You understand therefore considerably when it comes to this matter, made me for my part believe it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be fascinated except it?s something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. All the time deal with it up!

    115. John Ditka
      October 27, 2011 at

      Wow, a hockey blogger who is notoriously negative… continues to be… negative!
      I honestly hope you find happiness someday.

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