'Plan B' could see new arena built just north of the Saddledome

'Plan B' vision for arena to replace Saddledome expected to be debated Monday

A replacement for the Saddledome could be built on a 7.2-acre parcel of land just north of its current location, according to a report coming before city council Monday.

Compiled by the deputy city manager's office, the report says a two-block site bounded by 12th Avenue, Fifth Street, 14th Avenue and Olympic Way S.E. is large enough to house a new event centre, which would include an NHL arena and other yet-to-be determined ancillary services. 

The area is within the Stampede Master Plan and is currently used for parking and roadway.

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"The proposed event centre development area is owned by the Stampede," reads the report. "Since the existing Saddledome is owned by the city and is situated within Stampede Park, the Stampede has indicated potential support for a land exchange. The specific terms and conditions of a land exchange are subject to further discussions."

Along with being within an "entertainment zone" identified in the Stampede Master Plan, the site will be close to a planned station for the proposed Green Line LRT. 

For months, there have been hints about the so-called "Plan B." The proposal is to build a replacement for the Saddledome in Victoria Park, instead of the proposed CalgaryNext project in the West Village.

In the report to city council to be discussed Monday, the plan is now called the "Victoria Park Option."

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra said he's looking forward to the report because Calgary needs a new events centre.

"I'm confident we're going build something. I'm confident it's going to be amazing and we're in negotiations right now to hammer out the deals," he told CBC News.

Carra said he thinks the Flames could build and run an events centre on their own, as he has not seen any research to show that public investment in such a project makes financial sense.

Coun. Jim Stevenson said as more arena details emerge, he's confident Calgarians will be consulted.

"That will all come as we unfold this," he said.

Last month, Mayor Nenshi created headlines when he said the Flames' proposal for CalgaryNext was dead.

Some councillors said they want to see more detail on the Victoria Park option before deciding what happens next.

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