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Edmonton to proceed with talks on building $450 million downtown arena

EDMONTON - Edmonton city council has voted to proceed with negotiations for a new downtown arena for the Edmonton Oilers.

The vote on a potential deal with the Katz Group confirms the city will support its existing commitment for a maximum project price of $450 million, with $125 million to be raised through a surcharge on tickets.

The city wants a 30-year pact that would see the city own the arena and the land while Oilers' owner Darry Katz and his company would be responsible for operating costs.

The motion, approved in a 10-3 vote, also specified that the project should not proceed until sources for a $100 million shortfall are determined.

The city would also negotiate options for potential revenue sharing, along with a number of other conditions.

City manager Simon Farbrother says much work remains to be done, but the move is a positive step.

“This is a complex project, and we are taking it one step at a time,”said Farbrother.“We will keep working to ensure this project benefits Edmonton, responds to council, and keeps Edmonton a sustainable NHL market.”

Some councillors have had misgivings about the plan to replace the existing Rexall Place arena.

Katz has pledged $100 million toward the project.

Mayor Stephen Mandel has been warning that the Oilers could end up leaving the city if the new arena isn't built.

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