Volume 93, Issue 48

Wednesday, November 24, 1999


USC could change meaning of student

PhD program arrives at BOG

Western unites in fundraising drive

City narrows field in decision for contract

Sunny days sweep the clouds away

UN sounds alarm on AIDS


Caught on campus


City narrows field in decision for contract

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Although the ground may still be a virgin to the hands of construction workers, the plans for a new downtown entertainment centre in London are on their way.

Victor Cote, commissioner of planning and development with the City of London, said the list of 10 proposals has been narrowed down to three which will now compete for the contract, which will be awarded in February.

Cote said the three teams chosen were the London Civic Centre Corporation, Nustadia Developments and the Princeton Development Corporation.

"The three chosen are very strong – there are some design issues with respect to fitting into downtown, but all three are capable of doing [the job]."

The complex, which will be built at the corner of Talbot and Dundas Streets, across from the Covenant Garden Market, will seat between 6,500 and 9,000 people, Cote said.

He added the facility, which is part of the City's downtown revitalization project, will house such events as concerts, the Ice Capades and possibly become the new home of the London Knights Ontario Hockey League team.

Lindsey Elwood, chair of the London Downtown Business Association, said he was happy to hear a decision has been made with respect to narrowing down those vying for the contract.

With respect to the importance of the facility, Elwood said it will be key to increasing traffic flow downtown. "It's absolutely vital to the revitalization of downtown," he said, adding approximately 7,000 people in the downtown core 200 nights a year would have a tremendous impact.

John McArthur, president of the Princeton Urban Development Corporation, said he is excited about being short-listed. He said his team is awaiting the City's next set of guidelines before taking design steps.

McArthur described his company as a "small boutique developer" which specializes in unusual projects. Princeton has been involved in a number of contracts to build large arenas at the pre-development stage. "Our goal is to develop unique real estate partnerships," he said, adding the arena and contract with the city would be what he deems unique.

Renzo Morassut, president and Chief Executive Officer of Nustadia Developments, said he too was quite happy about the announcement. He added although his team has yet to make detailed plans, he is confident with them and is looking forward to the second stage of the City's documents which will outline the team's requirements.

Morassut added his company has been a part of many large projects including the GM Place in Vancouver and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

With respect to time, Morassut said the approximate year and a half is more than enough to build an arena of this kind.

The spokesperson from the London Civic Centre Corporation team was unavailable for comment as he was away in Calgary.

Cote said the City is right now going to look into the design and business issues. The teams will be asked to develop their design and financial proposal by mid-January with a decision to be made soon after.

The proposed opening of the arena is scheduled for the fall of 2001.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999