All that CRL talk has come full circle. The community revitalization levy, the tax uplift for new development to pay for the downtown arena appears to have hit a milestone according to city of Edmonton figures.
“If you take the arena project, the city office tower, and you take Stantec, there’s a billion and a half dollars worth of investment into the core and that will be sufficient to pay off clearly any of the municipal portion on the arena,” said city manager Simon Farbrother.
Stantec became the third piece of the puzzle when it announced Tuesday a nearly $500 million investment to build a 62 storey structure on the corner of 102 street and 103 avenue that will house it’s Edmonton headquarters, as well as residential condominiums.
“When we completed the arena deal we obviously were using fairly conservative estimates on CRL because we wanted to make sure there would be sufficient revenue to pay that off. When you start adding the facility (Stantec) that wasn’t automatically calculated into the CRL.”
Which means there’s more condos to be added to the area, plus Oilers owner Daryl Katz has signaled that a third tower will be built. “We developed a viable P3 model with the city,” Katz told a news conference. “Hopefully it’s a model that can be used in other places”
The third tower is shown in the drawings presented by WAM Developments, the Katz Group and Stantec at the unveiling.
“You’ll have to wait a few weeks. We’ll have more to say about that building and the rest of the district,” Katz said.
Farbrother says additional CRL tax revenue will be used to pay for other city infrastructure in the downtown, as improvements to Jasper avenue, under ground sewers and development of parks one three of many things on the city’s to do list.
“Just to remind people the CRL wasn’t just about the arena, it was a series of other projects and we couldn’t do those with out the cash flow that would come from the other investment.”
“I know our city staff are looking at the models right now,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “I know it’s going to pay back the CRL on a timely fashion which sort of exonerates all of the questions about that,” he said about the debate during the arena deliberations.
Yet even though Farbrother says the city’s commitment to the arena deal appears to be paid in full with the CRL, former city councillor Kerry Diotte took to twitter after the news conference to say “the financing is still a bad deal for taxpayers.”