The City of Edmonton has finally reached an agreement with the Katz Group regarding the downtown arena. This latest chapter in the ongoing saga happened this past Wednesday. Even with the approval, people are still going back and forth about whether this is indeed a good idea.
The approval will affect the city financially for the next 35 years so it’s not surprising that both sides are very opinionated. The agreement ended up being a give and take, and is seen as a fair compromise. The appeal of the arena is that it will revitalize the downtown core, attracting more people that will spend more money. Both sides pretty much agreed on that point.
Now the ball, as they say, is in the Katz Group court. They must come up with enough activity to make the venture appeal to those future visitors as well as Edmontonians. The group already stated that they are working on further development plans but as of yet have not divulged much detail.
John Karvellas with the Katz Group noted that the arena deal had to be approved before the group could really get going. Some renderings of their development plans have been circulated to council, but they are preliminary. Katz Group is working with another development firm on the project.
Those in the real estate world noted that a number of developers are ready to jump in and get things going. Cory Wosnack, representing Avison Young, a leader in the office rental market in Edmonton, expects that the additional development will have office towers, parking lots, cafes, shops and restaurants. A new hotel is also likely. Wosnack notes that Edmonton’s downtown core has been a business magnet for the last six years and the new arena will make the area even more attractive. Edmonton’s downtown core, in a fashion, is getting a new lease on life, a rebirth if you will.