Rivers District Partners Remain Focused on Long-Term Vision for Culture + Entertainment District

    · 4 min read

    CMLC and Calgary Stampede reinforce value of The Culture + Entertainment District vision and support ongoing Event Centre discussions.

    At a special meeting of Calgary City Council yesterday, Council directed city administration to continue pursuing opportunities for successful delivery of the Event Centre project in the Rivers District.

    As partners on the Rivers District Master Plan since 2018, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede are committed to the long-term success of the district and remain optimistic that ongoing discussions being led by the City of Calgary ultimately result in a positive outcome for Calgarians and the Rivers District.

    While the Event Centre has long been part of the vision for Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District (C+E), it is by no means the only significant project in the works. Even without an immediate answer on the Event Centre’s future, other city-building projects worth a collective $600 million are currently underway and are laying the foundation for The C+E’s success. The 20-year vision guiding this development has the flexibility to accommodate major projects like the BMO Centre expansion and the Event Centre while also prioritizing the crucial residential, commercial and mixed-use projects that add colour and vibrancy to the district and Calgary’s broader downtown.

    “Since the Event Centre was approved in 2019, it has been thoughtfully integrated into the overall vision for the district, where it would bring significant energy and complement other major projects already underway,” says Kate Thompson, CMLC President and CEO. “We are pleased to see Council’s interest in seeking resolution on the Event Centre project. Meanwhile, we are keeping our eyes squarely on delivering the exciting and transformational projects on track for completion in 2024: the BMO Centre expansion, the Stampede Trail redevelopment, and the 17th Avenue extension and Stampede Station rebuild.”

    Kate adds, “While we recognize that the Event Centre’s future is uncertain and that its absence would affect the overall plan for the Rivers District, we’re also aware that The C+E’s success isn’t centred around any single project. A multitude of interconnected projects, large and small, will collectively shape The C+E and drive its success. We’re confident that the significant investment already committed here will sustain the vision and create something Calgarians can be proud of.”

    The $500 million BMO Centre expansion broke ground in April 2021 and is progressing on schedule toward completion in 2024. “With more than 9,000 metric tonnes of structural steel being placed onsite, the BMO Centre expansion is at an exciting stage of its delivery as construction progresses on budget and on schedule for completion in June 2024,” said Joel Cowley, Calgary Stampede CEO. “Staged to become western Canada’s largest convention venue, the expanded BMO Centre will boost Calgary’s status as a global trade and tourism destination, and we remain committed to the broader vision of our new and vibrant Culture + Entertainment District.”

    Cowley adds “the Stampede’s SAM Centre development, which will offer an immersive showcase of western heritage and culture, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 and will further contribute to the vibrancy of the District.

    Adjacent to the BMO Centre, major infrastructure and public realm improvements are also underway, including the Victoria Park/Stampede Station rebuild and a pedestrian-oriented streetscape redesign of Stampede Trail between 12th Avenue and 17th Avenue SE, which will break ground this spring.

    “We are delivering some extremely complex projects during unprecedented times with unknowns affecting all aspects of planning and construction”, adds CMLC’s Kate Thompson. “In our role as stewards of the Rivers District Master Plan, and together with our partners at Calgary Stampede, we remain steadfast in our commitment to this district’s bright future.”

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