The proposal window is officially closed, and now it's time for the Winnipeg Football Club to make a monumental decision.
WFC chairman Ken Hildahl said yesterday there will be between two and four proposals to redevelop the Canad Inns Stadium site, which is the home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
That total includes the bid from Winnipeg media mogul David Asper, whose $145-million proposal includes a $25-million retail development and his taking ownership of the team. It would also require $80 million in provincial and federal government money.
After Asper revealed his bid in January, the WFC put out a call for expressions of interest from other developers, who had until 5 p.m. yesterday to submit their proposals. The Winnipeg office of BDO Dunwoody Corporate Finance Inc., which accepted the proposals on behalf of the club, will present them to a WFC board subcommittee tomorrow.
Hildahl, along with three or four other board members, will sit on the subcommittee, which will then present its findings to the entire board by mid-April.
"And that committee's got a lot of work to do between now and the middle of April when they'll make a presentation to the board," Hildahl said. "We'll take a look at what's the best direction and the best option for the football club and for football in the city."
It's believed there will be three serious bids when all is said and done: Asper's; another from Canad Inns Corporation; and a public/private venture from the Bombers and a developer.
Asper said in January that he hoped to have the Bombers playing in a new stadium by next year, but Hildahl said 2008 is "probably a little ambitious," regardless of which proposal the board selects.
"We're moving this along as quickly as we can. We don't want to lose that momentum," he said. "We gotta get to a point where we choose a path, we choose a developer that we're going to go to the dance with, so to speak, and see where it takes us.
"Even at that point there's no guarantees of anything because most of the proposals, I'm assuming, will involve an element of public participation through the feds and the province."
The board of directors has said all along that the public will have a say in the final outcome too, since the team has been community-owned since its inception in 1930.