It seems that nothing can stop Greater Sudbury’s attempts to develop the highly controversial Kingsway Entertainment District arena. This week, the city kicked the application process to select a designer/builder and a venue operator for the outskirts event centre. The winning two candidates should be announced later this year, says the city.
The KED project was first announced by the city in 2017, however, due to many legal challenges its development has not yet started. The CA$100 million complex is slated to come with a hockey arena, casino by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, a hotel, and many other venues. Currently, there is a legal challenge by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group, but to no avail.
This week Mayor Brian Bigger said in a statement, that the city is certainly advancing with the project completion agreement, which is based on a decision from the city council from July 2021. City officials say that they will have the final say on both of the operators for builder or venue manager. Venue tender is expected to emerge in the coming weeks while building operator early in Q3.
According to the city, the design/build request for proposals includes a list of three teams from back when the project was initially announced in 2017. The teams are Ball/TESC Construction Inc. (Joint Venture)/Architecture 49 Inc, then there is EllisDon Corporation/BBB Architects Toronto Inc., in conjunction with J. L. Richards & Associates Limited, and PCL Constructors Canada Inc. with Parkin Architects Ltd.
Documents for the project suggest that the build life of the structure is on course to last to 50 years, and development will start late in December 2022. It is scheduled to take longer than the construction of the casino and the hotel part. All three should open in 2025. The arena will have 5,800 in overall seating, out of which 5,020 in general seating, 500 in club, 40 loge box, and 240 in private suites.
The venue operator component includes two proponents which have been pre-qualified – California’s ASM Global, and Pennsylvania’s OVG Facilities, LLC. The operator will be tasked with management, operations, marketing, and programming of the 5,800-seat multi-functional event centre. It is reported that the venue operator will be announced as early as Q2 this year.
Previously, the City of Sudbury announced that there will be a delay in the grand opening of the KED, which was initially on course to open in 2024. Now, due to Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s request to pause the development of the project during the ongoing legal challenges. As already stated, the new event centre should now open sometime in 2025.
Support Among Opposition
Despite the many opponents of the KED, there are some still who support the project. For example, a few months ago the Wahnapitae First Nation has officially backed the controversial arena. The tribe believes that the site would bring significant economic and social value to the city. Also, the First Nation is looking forward to working on the KED plan, and they are glad to be a part of the plans moving forward.
Source: Clarke, Tyler “City opens application process to choose designer, builder and operator for KED”, Sudbury.com, January 31, 2022