Canucks drop partnership for Plaza of Nations practice rink
Plans have been underway for years to have the rink for a new civic center planned for the redevelopment of the Plaza of Nations – directly across from Rogers Arena – to double as the Vancouver Canucks’ official practice facility.
But the partnership recently collapsed, according to Daisen Gee-Wing, senior vice president of Canadian Metropolitan Properties, the developer of the Plaza of Nations project.
The NHL-sized rink is a key part of the civic center planned for the second phase of the three-phase redevelopment on the east side of the site. The design also includes around 400 fixed seats.
When the rink was not going to be used by the team, the ice period would be open for public use and community programming.
In addition to the rink, the Canucks were also to have approximately 25,000 square feet of commercial space on multiple levels dedicated to their uses, including over 8,000 square feet of space immediately adjacent to the rink as a medicine center. sport for the team and the community.
In an email to the Daily Hive Urbanized, Gee-Wing says the rink is still moving forward, as stipulated by the City of Vancouver in return for rezoning approval by city council for the entire redevelopment in July 2018. The center civic also includes an area of 17,000 m². music room, 34,000 square feet of community center and daycare space. In total, the redevelopment will be approximately 2.1 million square feet, including 1.4 million square feet of residential space and 40,000 square feet of commercial space, such as shops and restaurants for a new stadium entertainment district. The final phase of the redevelopment is expected to be completed in the early 2030s.
As part of the rezoning, the developer agreed to provide $ 325.5 million in contributions to community facilities (CAC), the community center and 380 social housing units being among the largest components.
Gee-Wing says they have already been approached by potential tenants for the sports medicine space and are “sure we can entertain that use” in the community center.
“We also wish the Canucks the best of luck in finding a practice rink for their use,” added Gee-Wing.
Without a dedicated training facility, an increasingly common approach in the NHL, the Canucks typically train at Rogers Arena or Scotia Barn (formerly Burnaby 8-Rinks) in the event of a conflict.
Daily Hive Urbanized has contacted Aquilini Investment Group (AIG), the owners of the Canucks, but they could not comment.
Abbotsford Arena Agreement
It follows this week’s major reshuffle that the Canucks received approval to move the Comets, their AHL affiliate, from Utica, New York, to Abbotsford.
On Thursday, the City of Abbotsford issued a bulletin stating that it intended to award the Canucks (AIG) a five-year deal to operate the Abbotsford Center, a 7,000-seat indoor stadium built in 2009, with three other renewals. term options.
The municipal government would pay AIG an annual management fee of $ 750,000. AIG would not only use it as a home ice cream for the farm team, but would also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility, and for booking other sporting events, trade shows and events. cultural and entertainment.
The duration of the proposed contract, starting January 1, 2022, includes revenue sharing opportunities for the city based on the number and type of event tickets sold.
“The city chose to solicit a bid for the proposed operator deal exclusively because of its unique experience and ability to leverage the operational synergies within the Canucks Sports and Entertainment franchise and the desire of the operator proposed to relocate its American Hockey League (AHL) development team to the Abbotsford Center as a primary tenant as of the 2021-2022 AHL season, without which the fixed-price management fee with liability operating costs would not be sustainable, ”the newsletter reads.
Until 2014, Abbotsford Center was the home of the AHL Abbotsford Heat, which struggled financially due to low turnout.
The city has been looking for a flagship sports tenant since the Heat’s move. There was a struggle to fill the stadium with events; the facility has experienced back-to-back operating deficits for a number of years, with the 2019 financial statements showing a deficit of approximately $ 3 million.