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DIALOG and HOK to lead design of new Calgary Flames arena

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has announced the team that will develop a C$550m (£324.3m/€360m/$402.9m) arena that will be the new home of NHL ice hockey team the Calgary Flames, with DIALOG and HOK chosen to lead the venue’s design.

DIALOG and HOK’s selection as Prime Design Consultant (PDC) seeks to blend local experience in leading the design of iconic Calgary projects like the Central Library and the new Cancer Centre; with international sports expertise in the design of notable projects including Little Caesars Arena (Detroit) and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta).

CMLC said DIALOG + HOK were selected based on their combined relevant expertise for projects of this scale, “thoughtful understanding” of the guiding principles of the project and connection to how the Event Centre will contribute to, and fit within, the area supporting a vibrant Culture & Entertainment District.

To manage the construction delivery of the 19,000-capacity project, local construction firm CANA Construction, partnered with Mortenson Construction, have been selected for their in-depth local knowledge and vast experience in construction of sport and entertainment venues across North America.

“The Event Centre will be a year-round entertainment facility that will serve as an extraordinary civic amenity for Calgarians and visitors to enjoy for generations to come,” said Kate Thompson, president and CEO of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

“First and foremost, we were looking for a team to work alongside us for the next five years, we’re confident in our selection of DIALOG + HOK and CANA + Mortenson based on their collective experience, capabilities and understanding to deliver a venue that demonstrates Calgary’s pride and spirit.”

CMLC initiated the procurement process in January with a series of Request for Proposals (RFPs) to select the PDC team, Construction Management (CM) team, and specialty consultants for structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering. The PDC RFP solicited interest from nine teams from across North America and was shortlisted to four teams to advance to interviews.

Speciality consultant teams required to support the structural, mechanical and electrical requirements for the project have been selected and include:

Structural engineering: Entuitive + Thornton Tomasetti

Electrical engineering: DIALOG + ME + Designcore

Mechanical: Remedy + ME

In January, the City of Calgary revealed further details concerning its contentious agreement with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) to develop a new arena for the Flames, with Mayor Naheed Nenshi maintaining that the deal is a fair one for Calgary.

Plans for the new NHL arena were formalised in December after an agreement was signed between the Calgary Flames’ owners and city authorities. The 35-year agreement between CSEC, the City of Calgary and Calgary Stampede will keep the NHL team in the city for that time at the new arena.

December’s agreement came on the back of the City voting in favour of the project in July, just eight days after it was first unveiled. The scheme represented the third attempt to broker such an agreement in the past four years. The Flames have played at the Scotiabank Saddledome (pictured) since it opened in 1983, but have long been seeking a new arena. However, the nature of the process led to criticism from certain quarters that it was rushed through without proper scrutiny.

December’s announcement had specified that the City and CSEC would split the costs of developing the arena, with city officials stating that further details would be made public at a later date. Plans for cost overruns, insurance and the long-term future of the Saddledome were among the details revealed in January.

Fundamental principles for the new project describe not only the importance of an elite sports and entertainment venue but a careful integration of how the facility fosters active community spaces surrounding the facility and integration into the vision for Calgary’s Culture & Entertainment District.

The goal for the design of the Event Centre is to balance the needs and expectations of various sporting leagues, while providing the flexibility and adaptability to host a myriad of entertainment, cultural and commercial events. This project will serve as the anchor for the surrounding district with neighbouring amenities like the soon-to-be expanded BMO Centre, design plans for which were revealed earlier this month.

“As we move forward with the development of this facility, we are confident this project team brings the experience, leadership and ambition to realise the full potential of what the Event Centre provides Calgary,” said John Bean, president and CEO of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation.

“With their experience of large-scale sport and entertainment facilities, we know that Calgary’s new Event Centre will be a source of civic pride for many years to come.”

While preliminary designs for the new arena have previously been released, the selection of the PDC and CM teams means that the chosen firms will now work on the concept design of the facility. Construction of the Event Centre is set to commence in August 2021, with completion slated for May 2024.

Image: Visit Calgary