April 2, 2009 - Construction of world-class athletic and recreation venues at the University of Manitoba (UM), including a new stadium for both the Blue Bombers and the Bisons, took another major step forward today following the signing of key agreements.
The financial core of the deal includes a $100 million plus private sector investment that significantly alleviates the load on taxpayers due to the retail development and economic engine at Polo Park. The project will also provide an important economic stimulus for Manitoba in terms of creating an estimated 1,468 person-years of employment and $26.2 million in new tax revenues.
Signed agreements will provide for:
$35 million in joint support from the Government of Canada and Province of Manitoba.
Federal funding will be strictly limited to the amateur and community sport venues.
Acquisition of Winnipeg Blue Bombers with change in ownership slated for early 2010.
Multi-year land lease by UM, subject to final approval by its Board of Governors.
Sale of existing stadium site at fair market value, subject to final approval by City Council.
The exhaustive team effort, which follows two years of negotiations, clears the way for final approvals by City Council and the UM Board of Governors. It will also allow Creswin to tackle the final challenge of securing retail tenants for the project's sister development at Polo Park. "We're at third and goal thanks to the determination of all our partners," said David Asper, "plus we have an outstanding short yardage team at Creswin that will push us to victory." The retail marketing, leasing and financing phase, already underway, will conclude in September and be followed by financing and construction tendering with closing of the deal as early as February 2010.
OTHER ANTICIPATED KEY DATES IN THE PROJECT TIMELINE:
Final stadium architectural and engineering design process - immediate
New stadium site preparation and landscaping work - fall 2009
Shovels in ground on new stadium - spring 2010
Construction of phase 1 retail at existing site - spring 2010
Stadium construction substantially complete - spring 2011
Demolition of existing stadium site and construction of phase 2 retail - spring 2011
Opening of new stadium - football season 2011
Substantial completion of phase 3 retail at existing site - summer 2013
COMMUNITY INTEREST FULLY PROTECTED:
The community will be protected by a Community Interest Agreement (CIA) guaranteeing the team's home in Winnipeg, in perpetuity. To represent the community and ensure all agreements are adhered to, a not-for-profit corporation entitled the Winnipeg Football Club Stakeholders (WFCS) has been established with its Board consisting of two members each from the Province, City, WFC and Creswin.
The WFCS will be the ultimate owner of the new stadium and will have, as its mandate, the authority to provide broad oversight and monitoring of the new facilities and corporate structure to ensure the Bombers stay in Winnipeg and operate as a community-minded organization.
"We are pleased to support this project," said Manitoba Premier Gary Doer. "When the overall development is complete, it will be a huge vote of confidence in our economy and will ensure the Bombers stay a strong and active part of our community and national identity."
Ken Hildahl, Chair of the Board of the Winnipeg Football Club echoed the Premier's comments. "Once finalized, this opens up a whole new era of stability and prominence for the Blue Bombers in Manitoba and across Canada," he said. "During these lengthy negotiations, we believe we have served the community well with agreements that ensure the Bombers forever remain a lasting legacy, right here in Winnipeg."
BEST IN CLASS ATHLETIC FACILITIES:
Once complete, the facilities, which include the new stadium, refurbished University Stadium and new fitness centre, will be transformational for the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus according to President, Dr. David Barnard.
"In terms of critical mass, this development will allow us to build on the strengths of the Max Bell Centre, Investors Group Athletic Centre and new indoor soccer complex," he said,
"and help transform the University into a year-round sport and recreation destination. This will position us as a leader in athletic and community development across Canada and provide many synergistic opportunities for our institution, our students and the community."
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said a new stadium and additional sports venues are long overdue. "Not only will Winnipeggers benefit tremendously from these new facilities that guarantee a future home for our Winnipeg Blue Bombers," he said, "but the new retail at the existing site is projected to generate millions annually in new municipal taxes. I'd say that's a win-win for all."
In closing, Asper reflected on the more than two year journey since he initially presented the Board of the WFC with a proposal to construct a new stadium. "While we won't be able to call the new facility 'the house that Jack built', one thing is for sure - when it happens, it'll have a new name - 'the house we all built'."
The new 30,000 seat, fan-friendly stadium (expandable to 45,000 seats) will be constructed on a 20 acre site within the sports precinct at the intersection of University Crescent and Chancellor Matheson Drive at the University of Manitoba, Fort Garry Campus.
PROVINCE TO PROVIDE FUNDS FOR CFL STADIUM
April 8, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Winnipeg, Manitoba - Manitoba officials have pledged a total of C$105 million toward a new
33,000-seat stadium for the CFL Blue Bombers in Winnipeg. The venue will cost a total of C$115 million with team owner David Asper funding the balance.
The Blue Bombers are now expected to move into the new stadium located at the University of Manitoba by 2012. Workers will then demolish Canad Inn Stadium and erect in its place an upscale retail mall called The Elms by 2014.
Under the deal, if Asper can leverage the new shopping complex to repay $90 million to the province by 2016, he wins total control of the team and the new facility.
If he can't meet the full loan within six years, a community organization would retain Bomber ownership. The province would then invoke contentious tax incremental financing (TIF) to make up the loan shortfall. Under TIF, the province would divert the tax bill for the Canad Inn site towards loan payments rather than general revenue.
Asper said between 50 and 60 retailers have already expressed interest in his 650,000-square-foot shopping center. Even so, he's had difficulty wringing hard commitments from potential storeowners - partly due to the economic climate and partly due to the deal's uncertain time frame.
"We got caught in kind of a Gordian Knot," said Asper. "I couldn't get commitments from the retailers because I couldn't give them a hard date for construction. That's when the premier came and offered bridge financing to unlock the retail part. That removed the logjam."
WORK BEGINS SOON ON WINNIPEG STADIUM
April 22, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Winnipeg, Manitoba - Work is expected to begin in May on a C$137 million stadium for the
CFL Blue Bombers. The venue will be located on the University of Manitoba campus.
This announcement is part of a plan put together by the provincial government, the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, University of Manitoba and Creswin Properties Inc. to
accelerate construction of the new community-owned football stadium.
"This plan provides the foundation that is needed to move this project forward," said Premier
Greg Selinger. "Building the stadium now significantly reduces the long term cost, creates an immediate stimulus for our economy, and provides a lasting asset for the university and the community."
Creswin will begin construction of the C$115 million stadium this summer. It is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2012 CFL and Bison football seasons.
An additional C$22.5 million will be invested in fitness facilities at the University of Manitoba.
As originally proposed, the new stadium will include 33,000 seats, overhead protection for 80 per cent of fans, enhanced concessions and washrooms, 40 luxury suites, a permanent Hall of Fame and an inflatable bubble for use in winter months.
The total project at the University of Manitoba will create an estimated C$19.6 million in provincial tax revenues from construction.
The province government is providing bridge financing for the project, which will be fully repaid by Creswin as part of the transfer of team ownership.
WINNIPEG APPROVES STADIUM PLAN
April 29, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Winnipeg, Manitoba - Winnipeg's City Council has approved plans for a C$137.5 million
stadium to host the CFL Blue Bombers. It's now up to owner David Asper to arrange financing for the 33,000-seat venue, a task that Mayor Sam Katz believes will be difficult.
The city's end of the deal involves a C$2.5 million contribution toward the university recreation improvements and the sale of the Canad Inns Stadium site to Asper's Creswin Properties at what the city describes as fair market value. The final sale price will be determined by comparing city and Creswin property appraisals.
After Creswin acquires the land, it intends to build a high-end shopping center called The Elms in Polo Park and use the expected cash flow from the retail development to secure a loan that will allow the company to pay back C$75 million of a C$90 million loan the province is providing to the Winnipeg Football Club.
The total cost of the stadium is C$115 million. The province is also contributing a C$15 million grant, while Creswin is contributing C$10 million in planning and contracting services.
Two weeks ago, Katz said city will not allow Creswin to build on the existing stadium site until it demonstrates how it will pay the province back the $75 million - a condition the company must meet by 2016 in order to acquire the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' assets.
Katz went even further after the vote, surmising it will be difficult for Creswin to obtain a loan based on the expected cash flow at The Elms.
"I would have told you many years ago you could do that. I think it's much more difficult now," said the mayor, referring to the willingness of financial institutions to hand out risky loans since the recession began in late 2008. "Can it be done? I don't know for sure."
Katz said Creswin has assured him it will be able to obtain the financing it needs to complete the deal. The mayor said he has completed similar deals himself, as a private businessperson - but none on the scale of what Creswin is attempting to accomplish.
Construction on the stadium will not be held up while The Elms project is resolved. Work is
expected to begin in May.
COST CLIMBS FOR WINNIPEG STADIUM
December 2, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Winnipeg, Manitoba - Global Winnipeg reports that the final cost of Winnipeg's new football
stadium will top C$180 million, but the official price won't be announced until after the Grey Cup.
The planned 33,000 seat stadium is being built at the University of Manitoba.
Sources told the web site a new funding deal is in place that will proceed without David Asper
and Creswin Developments and could see the Blue Bombers and taxpayers footing a bigger portion of the bill.
Asper had the lead on the project until word the agreed upon price of C$115 million had ballooned to what sources told Global News is $185 million.
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon told Global Winnipeg final word is expected after last weekend's game in Edmonton.
"These projects are very exciting for us when we think about the potential on attendance and attracting fans into our stadiums for years and decades to come," said Cohon.
ASPER OUT OF DEAL FOR WINNIPEG STADIUM
December 16, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Winnipeg, Manitoba - The Winnipeg Sun says if a deal goes ahead to finance a new football
stadium at the University of Manitoba, it will do so without David Asper.
Mayor Sam Katz confirmed to the Sun that Asper, the Creswin Properties chair chosen by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2007 to spearhead construction of a new stadium, is out of the deal.
"On the deal we discussed today, Creswin is not part of it," Katz said.
"Obviously the numbers were much greater than they originally thought. They came back with a different proposal, and that wasn't acceptable."
Creswin will be paid back C$4 million of the C$6.6 million it has put into the project so far, Katz said.
No other private partner will be included in the deal.
"I don't think anybody's really looking and I'll be very frank, I don't think there's a lineup to get involved," Katz said. That means the city, the province, the U of M and the Bombers will hammer out the financing on their own, and according to Katz, they must do it this week, the newspaper said.
That's because the contractors who bid on the stadium work have only guaranteed their prices
until Dec. 15, meaning if the deal isn't agreed to by all parties, the price will in all likelihood go up, Katz said.
A spokesman for Premier Greg Selinger told the Sun the provincial cabinet has already approved the new deal, and with the city now seemingly on board as well, the governments are now awaiting approval from the board of the university.
December 15, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers sold naming rights to their new 33,500-seat stadium to Investors Group. Terms of the 12-year deal were not released. The C$190 million CFL venue will open in 2012 and be called Investors Group Field.