City Council vote moves coliseum towards demolition

With no plans on the horizon to repurpose the facility, city council has voted to demolish the arena that once housed the Edmonton Oilers.

Whether you know it as Northlands, Skyreach Centre, or Rexall Place, the arena that was home to the Edmonton Oilers for over three decades will soon be torn down, or at least it’s certainly looking that way. Councillor, Tony Caterina, raised a motion on Friday to hold off on the decision for 60 to 90 days to see if any developers would be willing to step forward with plans to breathe new life into the old building but that was soon shot down. Other counsellors, as well as Mayor Don Iveson, believe that it would be best to save the city some money and that the land would be better served being redeveloped into something else entirely.

Back in December, an estimate came in that priced the demolition of the old barn at $15-25 million dollars whereas keeping it open would, in itself, cost the city upwards of $15 million per year in maintenance and upkeep. With no future plans on the horizon, would keeping it standing really make sense? In February, a vote approved the permanent closure of the facility. Looking ahead, it has been recommended by some members of city council that they take a year to develop new plans or concepts on what to do with the land and site of the Oilers’ former home.



    • toprightcorner

      The cost to repurpose is more expensive than tearing it down and rebuilding a multi ice facility. Plus the up keep of such an old building is not cost effective.

      • Grover

        Where are you getting your info from? having the structure and furnishings available make that an unlikely fact …unless someone is trying to prove a point (essentially lie to the public for political gain) and purposefully looking at the cost of trying to adapt the building to a design that does NOT fit the structure. If it is designed to fit to the existing structure (yes there will be limitations on exactly what can be done) then barring massive fraud it would be cheaper to re-purpose.

      • VK63

        false. That is a narrative fallacy.
        Does it need some tweaking to be more efficient, absolutely. are those upgrades formidable beyond economic viability… absolutely not.
        This is Katz protecting his money pit…. plain and simple.

  • Beer

    Come on, build the LRT to the airport. Turn the coliseum into the worlds first international homeless shelter. Hasn’t Iverson, Notley, Trudeau thought of the votes this would garner, besides it only takes a few billion tax dollars. Could build churches, mosque’s, synagogus’s and what not in the parking lots. Statue’s would be built of the aforementioned, nothing could possibly go wrong.

  • toprightcorner

    Its about time. It is cheaper in the long run to tear it down and rebuild multi-ice facilities, lacross facilities as well as indoor soccer facilities. The new facilities will cost 1/5th to maintain while offering more rinks. The can fit 12 rinks and 3 soccer fields each with seating capacity ranging from 500 to 2000 spectators.

    This could single handedly solve the ice shortage issues in Edmonton and new land wouldn’t need to be purchased.

    The national and international kids tournaments they could have would be amazing.

  • Disappointed

    I just can’t fathom how it would cost the city $15M per year in maintenance costs. I am sure a concrete structure can be mothballed with minimum utilities and 15 million would buy a lot of roofing that would last for years. Do you think they factor in things like city taxes lost? I sure would like to see the breakdown of the 15 million dollars.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Cost to build Northlands Coliseum: $17.3 million
    Cost to demolish: $15-25 million

    Cost to build Olympic Stadium: (financed over 30 years) $1.61 Billion
    Estimated cost to demolish: $500-700 Million
    Estimated cost of proposed replacement roof: $300 Million

    Transfer payments well spent…

    • Grover

      Your “Cost to build Northlands Coliseum: $17.3 million” is suspect – Wikipedia is not a definitive fact source (just info posted by contributors – you can do it yourself if you want) and if you look at the link for where they got that number from it is based on a solitary Edmonton journal article that was not about construction but rather upgrades to the coliseum. More importantly it actually only refers to the government financing cost, NOT total construction cost.

  • VK63

    There is/was a group willing to purchase and repurpose the facility.
    Katz group won’t allow that. Largely because they are afraid to have their show run by actually visionaries and can not absorb the embarrassment that a competing entity would invariably become.
    Katz group is brutal.
    The fall off in Rogers Place in one year is one of the most epic fails in the service industry. Not sure why the buffoons that cover this team don’t take a run at a story like that instead of standing around in a circle jerk smelling Connors jock.