Northlands will sell parking spaces for LRT Park and Ride
Downtown commuters will have another option Monday when Northlands opens 654 of its stalls to paying transit riders.
The stalls will go for $75 a month, but commuters have to be out by 5 p.m. on event days. They’ll get 72 hours notice and signs on site that morning.
“This is about highest and best use of the land,” said Northlands president Tim Reid, adding surrounded businesses are worried about the impact of the empty site. Many were used to relying on game-night traffic for customers.
Northlands president and CEO warns this past K-Days could be the last
Northlands president and CEO Tim Reid warned this past K-Days could be the last should city council fail at the end of the month to reach a decision that would allow Northlands to generate new revenue.
“The reality of it is, with the introduction of a new arena, our business model has changed. So, if we can’t find some time, which is really what we are asking from council, then we will be in a position where this may very well be our last K-Days,” Reid told a press conference Tuesday.
The opening of Rogers Place this fall will effectively bring an end to business at Rexall Place which has generated around $50 million in revenue every year for Northlands, a non-profit that operates the arena and the 64-hectare property around it.
Northlands is also getting out of horse racing at the end of 2016 due to dwindling profit margins. It had generated about $60 million in annual revenue for Northlands.
The non-profit organization presented Vision 2020 to council in March as a solution that it believes could save the 137-year-old organization from bankruptcy.
K-Days attendance up, but Northlands might go down
K-Days might disappear in 2017.
Indeed, Northlands President and CEO Tim Reid said the long-running festival, and Northlands as a whole, could shut down if city council rejects its Vision 2020 redevelopment strategy, when it votes on it on Aug. 31.
“We’ve been very clear with our decision making that we won’t be the next not-for-profit that finds itself in the red,” Reid said Tuesday.
The organization's Vision 2020 plan includes residential and commercial retail development on the 160-acre Northlands site in northeast Edmonton, as well as an outdoor concert site that could host up to 80,000 people.
Paula Simons: K-Days cancellation threat by Northlands shouldn't spook Edmonton City Council
Hand over $220 million — or the fair gets it.
OK, so Northlands CEO Tim Reid didn’t put it precisely that baldly at his post-K-Days news conference on Tuesday. But there was a definite whiff of extortion to his statement that Edmonton’s summer carnival will be cancelled, unless City Council approves Northlands latest funding demands.
“If Vision 2020 is not approved, this could be the last K-Days,” Reid told reporters.
Vision 2020, in case you’ve forgotten, is Northlands plan to turn Rexall Place into a community hockey centre with six rinks, to turn the Northlands race track into an indoor-outdoor concert bowl with room for 90,000 to 140,000 people, and to retrofit the money-losing Expo Centre to add a 5,000 seat arena. Total estimated price tag? $170 million.
Oh, and as if that weren’t enough? Reid delivered another ultimatum. Northlands is also demanding forgiveness of the $48 million it still owes the city for the last Expo Centre expansion.
Otherwise? Edmonton’s historic summer fair may well be history.
Struggling Northlands would consider merging with EEDC
The future of Northlands is on many minds of late, and one local businessperson says it needs to merge with other city organizations in order to stay afloat.
Chris LaBossiere, who served on the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation board for four years, told Metro Northlands needs to be absorbed into the development corporation.
The reason, he said, is that the EEDC runs the Shaw Conference Centre, which provides similar services to Northlands.
“I just think that you can achieve a lot more when you get everyone on the same page about marketing, storytelling and leveraging physical assets to make really amazing festivals and tourism opportunities,” LaBossiere said.
“And you can do it for a lot less, which makes both organizations stronger and more sustainable.”
Edmonton could be on hook for outstanding Northlands grant
If the city is forced to step in at Northlands it could also be on the hook for a $12.5 million federal grant paid to the Expo Centre in 2010.
Edmonton’s potential costs for the redevelopment of the Northlands site continue to add up with the possibility the city would have to repay a $12.5 million federal grant if it took over the Edmonton Expo Centre.
Northlands' Vision 2020 project is coming back to council next week and the agency has already asked the city to consider forgiving $48 million it owes the city for the convention space.
In addition to that debt, the federal government gave a $25 million grant to the facility when it was built in 2010, on the condition that the city would repay it if the facility ever came into their hands or if it was converted from use as a convention centre.
City throws cold water on Northlands Vision 2020 proposal
A dramatic overhaul proposed for Rexall Place, the Expo Centre and the rest of the Northlands site is will not solve the society's financial woes and shouldn't be supported, according to a city report released Wednesday.
Edmonton City Manager Linda Cochrane talks to the press about the report about the Northlands Vision 2020.
City council asked administration to study the plan and report back, and they found it didn't meet market demands.
City releases scathing findings on Northlands' future plan
A plan by Edmonton Northlands to reinvent itself after the Rogers Place downtown arena opens will cost $65 million more than originally proposed by the non-profit organization.
The cost, the lack of details about a planned festival site and questionable demand for building a 5,000-seat concert and sports hall in Expo Centre Hall D were cited by city administration as reasons for council to reject the plan.
Northlands could be facing its final weeks, says CEO Tim Reid
The future of Northlands as an organization is in peril after council released a scathing report on the viability of the not-for-profit's plans for the Coliseum and the surrounding area, says CEO Tim Reid.
Reid said he disputes the city's findings, but the decision is ultimately up to city council.
"If this is the time and place when the City of Edmonton and the community of Edmonton don't believe that Northlands offers the value that it should, then we really need to consider our future as an organization," Reid said Thursday.
He said the idea of going out of business after 137 years is "incredibly daunting" for the Northlands board and its employees.
David Staples: Councillor likely to see worst fears realized at Northlands site, and that's OK
Things are likely to go from bad to worse for Northlands at its 65-hectare site. In fact, my bet is Coun. Tony Caterina, who represents the neighbourhoods around the site, will see his worst fears realized.
“That is our land and it can’t sit dormant,” Caterina says. “That is my biggest fear, that the site be left dormant, starting to grow weeds. That’s the worst thing for the city of Edmonton and the communities around there.”
I expect nothing much will happen at the site because Northlands’ plan for redeveloping it makes little sense. But I can’t agree with Caterina that dormancy is necessarily bad for Edmonton.
The city has no end of major projects right now, such as the new downtown arena and museum, the Mill Woods LRT and the Blatchford and the Quarters redevelopments. The worst idea is to rush into another new mega-project without certainty it’s a good risk. The Northlands plan fails to meet the mark.
Editorial: Save Expo Centre whatever happens to rest of Northlands
Overshadowed in the debate about the future of the Northlands site is the Edmonton Expo Centre.
It shouldn’t be. Of all the facilities at Northlands, losing it would sting the most.
With 522,000 square feet of space and the capacity to host up to 25,000 visitors at time, Northlands bills it as the largest trade and conference centre outside Toronto.
It holds trade shows not ideally suited for the Shaw Conference Centre and too large for any hotel ballroom. Annual events such as the Edmonton Motorshow and the Alberta Gift Show attract thousands of exhibitors and attendees to Edmonton each year, along with the resulting economic dividends.
While Rogers Place will usurp Rexall Place as showcase arena and Northlands searches for a new role for the horse racing track, the city cannot afford to lose the Expo Centre.
Northlands’ Vision 2020 is not going to happen
The City of Edmonton released its analysis of Northlands’ Vision 2020 proposal today. Introducing the report, City Manager Linda Cochrane said, “we acknowledge that Vision 2020 is an option for what could be done with the 160 acres.” It’s clear from reading the report however that the City doesn’t support the plan.
“Northlands has proposed an ambitious plan and there are elements that are worthy of future exploration,” Mayor Iveson said. But there’s a but. “Council’s job must be to make decisions that are in the best interest of the city, not just one organization.” Suggesting that there’s more work to be done, he said “it’s critical that we aren’t rushed and that we make the right decision for our city.”
Vision 2020 proposes a transformation of both Northlands as an organization and the 160 acres of land that it leases from the City and operates, which includes Rexall Place, the Edmonton EXPO Centre, Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino, and all of the parking. The plan would see Rexall Place repurposed as a recreation facility, a retrofit for Hall D in the EXPO Centre, a new agriculture strategy, the end of horse racing and a redevelopment of Northlands Park into an urban festival site, and a redevelopment plan consisting of commercial, retail, and residential uses. The key to making the plan work is debt forgiveness on the $48 million outstanding debt that Northlands owes on the Edmonton EXPO Centre, to say nothing of the capital expenditures required to build everything outlined in the plan.
A NEW FUTURE FOR NORTHLANDS
Today, administration released its report analyzing Northlands’ redevelopment plan. It is a long and thorough assessment of the current and future state not only of the facilities at Northlands but of key aspects of Northlands’ re-envisioning. Next Wednesday’s public hearing will give City Council the chance to discuss Northlands proposals in more detail and hear from the public about what they imagine the future of Northlands to be.
Before then, however, I wanted to share my high level reaction to the key findings in the report.
My quick reply to Don Iveson on Northlands’ Vision 2020 proposal
The following comment was posted as a response to Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson‘s comments on Northlands’ Vision 2020 proposal following the City Administration’s analysis of the plan. I hope to go into more details about Northlands’ proposal and the plans of the area in a future post.