There has been some development on the extensive and long-time discussions on the subject of the Kingsway Entertainment District project matter PricewaterhouseCoopers has been requested to conclude a new report on the matte by the city council of Sudbury. The new report shows that the entertainment complex can be constructed for less of the initial cost and provide crucial benefits to the region.
The council backed the plans for the complex in a 2017 vote that triggered a series of legal obstacles for the project. Additionally, another reason for the delay was the beginning of the unprecedented situation and the followed financial difficulties. The original analysis pointed to a downtown location for the complex, however, the new report suggests that the Kingsway would be a much more suitable site for the project.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’s newest report on the complex, the currently approved Kingsway site for the project is much more favorable in terms of economic benefits and reduced costs. The report will be heading to the city council on June 16. Additionally, the agreements in place now between the city, Gateway Casinos, and the hotel brand offer the highest possible economic value.
The report suggests that building the arena downtown could cost between CA$125.4 million and CA$128.6 million, and the Kingsway location would cost around CA$113.8 million, without a parking area. Also, building the arena downtown could cause further obstacles as some properties in the area are private property, and owners of those lands might be reluctant to sell.
Revamping the Sudbury Arena would be more difficult as it would require a larger annual operating subsidy. Also, the downtown will not be able to provide the same range of events or visitors experience compared to a brand-new arena. This option can also be further complicated due to the reduction of events and moving the Sudbury Wolves and Sudbury 5 for two seasons, causing additional costs.
However, the conditions and environment for the Kingsway Entertainment District are quite positive, according to the report. Due to the lockdown restrictions, there are opportunities for mid-sized event centers to attract live entertainment that they usually will not be able to. On top of that this site would provide over 1,500 jobs for the area along with expected revenue of approximately about CA$2.665 million in property taxes.
Mayor Bigger’s Directions
Previously, Mayor Brian Bigger advised everyone in the city to stop the excessive rumors and discussions as the project was not yet presented at the council. The mayor has also requested the council to thoroughly examine all facts and risks as the local population may not be fond of the idea of having a casino property in the area. He also reminded them to keep in mind how committed are Gateway Casinos to the project.
Besides the legal battles for the new complex, the unprecedented situation has also left its mark on the project as it put the plans on halt. Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier was alarmed that the gaming corporation might not pursue the idea of launching a casino property in the arena, as the company was heavily struck by the closure of its casino properties. Back then Gateway Casino’s was focusing its finances on its current properties and not on the potential ones.
Source: MacDonald, Darren “Kingsway Entertainment District cheaper, offers more economic benefits, report concludes”, CTV News, June 7, 2021