Leaders to mediate talks between city and Flames ownership

The mediation group is made up of three people with a background in commercial real estate development

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Three Calgary businessmen have signed on with Calgary Flames ownership in an effort to facilitate a new arena deal with the city.

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Calgary Director of Planning and Development Stuart Dalgliesh revealed the identity of the third party chosen by the city to kick-start arena negotiations during a Wednesday meeting of the council’s Events Center Committee.

The third is made up of three people with a background in commercial real estate development – ​​John Fisher, executive vice president of CBRE; Guy Huntingford, Strategic Director of NAIOP Calgary; and Phil Swift, Executive Chairman of the Ayrshire Group.

The group falls under the municipal administration and is subject to a strict confidentiality agreement, Dalgliesh said.

“I believe this is a very positive point in the process, in moving towards the potential for agreements to realize a new event center for Calgary,” he said.

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City administrators gave the event center committee its first update on the arena talks Wednesday during a lengthy closed-door meeting.

John Fisher, executive vice president of CBRE, will mediate between the city and Flames ownership.
John Fisher, executive vice president of CBRE, will mediate between the city and Flames ownership. Photo by Postmedia file

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Dalgliesh remained tight-lipped on the details and said there was no firm commitment or timeline for a new arena deal.

Coun Event Center Committee Chairman. Sonya Sharp said it’s “going to take a while” before progress hits its next milestone. But she said she was happy with Wednesday’s update.

“We had an obstacle, and it was building a relationship. And we did it, we’re on our way,” Sharp said.

“Everybody wants an event center to be built. . . The city should be excited, Calgarians should be happy about this moment. »

Wednesday’s update comes in the Flames’ second-round playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers, with Calgary on the verge of elimination after a Game 4 loss to Edmonton on Tuesday night.

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Sharp declined to say whether increased revenue from Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. during the playoffs could give the city more bargaining power.

The CSEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Guy Huntingford, Strategic Director of NAIOP Calgary.
Guy Huntingford, Strategic Director of NAIOP Calgary. Photo by Postmedia file

The previous arena deal between the two sides fell apart in the final weeks of 2021, when CSEC pulled out of the $650m deal over more than $16m in cost increases related to climate and infrastructure spending.

In January, the council asked the administration to explore avenues for a new event center project.

That request called for a third party to consider whether parties other than Flames ownership might want to partner with the city on the project. When pressed, Dalgliesh said only that the named third party had discussions with the city and CSEC.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek was one of several council members not on the event center committee who attended Wednesday’s meeting.

She told reporters she was pleased with the committee’s progress so far.

“We have to be patient with what comes after that and I think the playoffs is something we’re all focused on right now, so let’s keep our eyes on that prize,” Gondek said.

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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