Saskatoon officials have been shown a proposal for a new north downtown stadium that, if constructed, would host a Canadian Premier League franchise.
In July, we noted that Joe Belan–the chairman and CEO of Novatrek Capital and a former national men’s team soccer player–was involved in an effort to construct a new stadium in either Saskatoon or Regina. Regardless of where it is built, the stadium would be designed to accommodate a team in the Canadian Premier League, a new Tier 1 FIFA-sanctioned soccer circuit that is expected to launch in cities across Canada in 2018 or 2019.
On Wednesday, Belan and former Saskatchewan Rush president Lee Genier met with city officials to present the stadium proposal. The stadium be a domed modular structure with an expandable capacity of up to 8,200 seats, and the ability to host other sports and events in addition to soccer.
The estimated $20 million facility would be built at the current city yards site and open in 2021, with the club launching in 2019 and playing at Prairieland Park until the new facility is ready. More from The Saskatoon StarPhoenix:
Belan said his soccer vision requires no financial impact on taxpayers, although his initial proposal does involve the city donating land for the stadium at the site of the current city yards.
In the meantime, he is ready to play games at the Prairieland Park grandstand until the new stadium can be constructed downtown. He estimates it would take nine to 10 months to build the new stadium, and he envisions playing games at Prairieland in 2019 and 2020 before moving into a new facility in 2021, he said.
“One funding mechanism could be (donated) land, but that’s not the only one,” Belan said after his 25-minute address and question and answer session with councillors.
“There are a number of others. I don’t want to get pigeonholed into saying that’s the only one that we’re looking at. It’s a discussion with city planners, and we’re going to be guided by them, to say ‘This fits within the policies of the city; this is what we’re able to do; here’s some of our budgetary constraints; how are we going to work around that?’ My background is finance, and I’m accustomed to developing complex financing structures. We can lend some ideas and some support to the city, in how we ultimately do that together with them.”
Mixed-use development could occur around the proposed stadium, as Belan reportedly told the city that the facility’s footprint will occupy seven acres of the 12-acre site.
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