Published On: Thu, Feb 13th, 2014

Daryl Katz Building $440 Million New Hockey Arena For Edmonton Oilers

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The discreet Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz hit the news twice this week, and this time he was unable to stay out of the spotlight.

Daryl Katz, a lawyer, made his money originally investing with his father, a pharmacist, in buying up poor performing pharmacy chains, in Canada and the US,   and injecting new life into them.

Lately he has been more interested in the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, which he bought in 2008 for US$200 million. The Oilers, home at one time to the famous Wayne Gretzky, is very important to the City of Edmonton both because its residents are all crazy about hockey and because it brings in huge amounts of money to local businesses.

Rogers Place new Edmonton arena (2)
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At the time Katz bought it the team had been going through a difficult period, and it is fair to say its results under new ownership are not still yet stellar. Team rebuilding,  from the management on down, is both necessary and far from achievable over night.What better way to cause some real “buzz” then, than to announce the building of a new US$440 million (CAD$480 million) hockey arena in the downtown business area of Edmonton.

That is exactly what Daryl Katz has done, announcing the new stadium in a joint press conference with the Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson,  on Tuesday.

After years of planning and negotiation, construction will start next month. The new arena will be called Rogers Place after the cable company who have acquired ten year naming rights,  and it should open for action on the ice in the fall of 2016.

The city is putting up most of the money for the new 18, 500 seat stadium, which will be built by Katz’s own development company, for a fixed price, and to top of the line design and construction standards. The city is paying 47% of the cost and the Katz Group will pay back 53% over a period of years, through rent and also in part by a special surcharge on every ticket sold.

 
Daryl Katz, owner of the Edmonton Oilers said of the deal,  “For the Katz Group and the Edmonton Oilers, we have always believed Edmonton’s need for a new arena was a huge opportunity to help transform our downtown into the vibrant, diverse and dynamic community that is the hallmark of every great city” adding , “We couldn’t be more excited to see that vision becoming a reality and I want to thank Mayor Iveson, City Council, former Mayor Stephen Mandel, and the entire team at the City and everyone else who has laboured over this project for years for their tenacity and faith in this project.”

Indeed it has taken several years of sometimes bitter wrangling to bring this result about, including about the merits of putting up public moneys for such a project,  though the knives have now all been sheathed and intense harmony prevails on all sides.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said, “This is an exciting day for Edmonton as we move ahead with a project that will help realize our vision of a more vibrant downtown and ensures that the Edmonton Oilers remain a vital part of our city for years to come, ” adding “The look of Rogers Place is bold and forward-looking, just like Edmonton. As part of our downtown vision, it will serve as a symbol of our city’s great future.”

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When asked about the public benefit of the new arena Kaqtz himself responded,  “I think the whole project has been designed with a large amount of community consultation” adding “The citizens of Edmonton have had the opportunity to comment on the design, and on the district and on the master plan. The whole project has been designed with a view to making it user friendly for the citizenry of Edmonton.”

Just a few days earlier, a separate lease agreement was also announced between the city and Edmonton Arena Development (EAD), a partnership between WAM Development and the Katz Group. EAD have obtained a contract with the City of Edmonton to lease them space in a new 595, 000 square foot, 27 storey,  300-million office tower also in the downtown arena district.
Daryl Katz (2)
Two-thirds of Edmonton’s employees are going to have Darryl Katz as a landlord by the time it is built as they will consolidate their employees there from several other buildings.
The new office tower project raised a number of eyebrows coming as it does just as the arena is also getting off the ground. All parties concerned, including the press who watched the process all the way through, say it was an open tender process under which Katz’s bid was the clear winner.

About Daryl Katz

Daryl Katz, age 52, was born and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta in Western Canada where his father was a practicing Pharmacist.

After attending Jewish Day School he graduated from the local high school and then took an arts degree at the university of Alberta in 1982. He also took a law degree there in 1985.

After working in an Edmonton law office he went into business for himself in 1991 in partnership with his father and subsequently built chains of drugstores, buying up tired chains and revitalizing them.

Today Katz has a net worth of US$2.6 billion according to Forbes billionaires, as at March 2013.

His company the Kataz group later diversified into real estate development as well.

Katz is married to Renee Gouin and they live in Edmonton.

 

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