Cats' partners not sold on stadium site

I'm surprised this hasn't been given it's own thread (realizing the story link has been posted and buried in another thread).

Cats' partners not sold on stadium site (The Spec, Feb 24/10)

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/727236

Considering the lengthy debate and argument here and elsewhere surrounding the various PanAm sites... potential, rejected and selected, the fact that the business community is having concerns about the chosen site should set off alarm bells.

David Braley, Ron Foxcroft, the Tiger Cats, etc have all stated some of their desired site attributes for a successful business plan and unfortunately (for some), the harbour front does not satisfy those requirements.

Also unfortunately, one of the few potential sites that would have apparently fit the bill (highway access and high visibility (for marketing/advertising)) was unceremoniously and (IMO all too) quickly removed from discussion, that being Confederation Park (CP). Without detailed study, we'll never know.

When Counsellor Collins said he wanted to preserve CP for "green space" and suggestions by some that all people had to do was ask what other plans or agendas may have been in the works before voting yah or nay, perhaps the question posed should have been, define, or what is "green space"?

While most think of "green space" as open, green/grassy fields/trails for personal enjoyment and recreation, with the development planned for CP (hotel, restaurant(s), boutiques, etc), perhaps the definition Collins was using was really that of (green) money making business areas/space... "green space" :slight_smile:

Even though not their first or preferred choice, give credit to various skeptics like Foxcroft and the Cats for being team players by promising to try and work with the harbour front site and hope the real or perceived negatives can be overcome.

I heard Scott Mitchell on the Billy Kelly show the other day and although he says they will work with the city to help move the process forward, the Cats do not see the long term viability of the west harbour location. the Tiger Cats and their business partners will need to continue to pressure the city to re-think their decision and I hope they do.

Perhaps, since the city has commercial development plans for the "greenspace" that is Confederation Park, they could use that plan and re-plant it in the west harbour area and move the west harbour plans to CP.

They could incorporate the Pedestrian Bridge into it as well.
Thus, business partners and the tennant of the future (The Cats) will be able to successfully build their future business plan around a stadium site that will ultimately provide them with a return on their investment.

Actually, there were (still are?) plans to implement some of the Confederation Park development at the west harbour.

I seem to recall plans for a "European-type" town square with bistros/restaurants, shops, etc with perhaps residential space (condos) in the area near the Discovery Centre. I don't know whether "the plan" is still in the works or not but there have been talks re duplicating the west end experience in the east end, thus "the plan" for Confederation.

The differing features would be the additional sports field(s) and hotel included in the Confederation Park re-design.

I have to admit if it was built at CP and visible from the QEW, that could be quite a selling point for Hamilton particularly if you could see a landscaped waterfall as part of the structure for aesthetic purposes. I can't think of a better marketing site for the stadium than CP and what it could do image-wise for the city. I guess we'll never know though as said about CP. :?

Water under the bridge. Nobody is a bigger supporter of CFP as the site. It won't happen. If suddenly it gets back on the table I'll be overjoyed but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Its Rheem or nothing now. The one and only worry I have is that Hamilton will end up with a 15-20,000 seat stadium with no tenant or that the city of Hamilton will have to kick in $20-30M more. Before that happens I suspect we'll lose the venue to another city. If we don't its a nightmare

I've never had a problem with the west harbour/Rheem site despite it's supposed negatives (lack of parking, access/egress) as many have lived with those issues at Ivor Wynn for decades, the difference being we would now have a spanking new, state-of-the-art stadium to enjoy instead, so I believe those short comings can be overcome (or at least accepted and overlooked).

My concerns are (as stated in other threads)...

Confederation Park was never given serious consideration (roundly rejected) and no formal studies done or data collected to make an informed decision either way. Ironically, much like Council voting in a vacuum to accept and vote "Yes" for the Rheem site.

I'm not a business person and have no experience and few ideas (beyond the obvious - Business 101) re routes to business success so I defer to those in the know and that have succeeded. It worries me when they question (from a business perspective) the selected site. I believe it speaks volumes when a number of those successful business people have and express doubts and concerns re the viability of the Rheem site.

If anything, I think that folks in the Ticat organization, Ron Foxcroft and other potential "doners to the cause," see the futility of putting a stadium anywhere on our waterfront and have there eyes on Hamilton mountain.

Also; as insane as our council appears to be at times with their illusions of grandeur, I doubt that even they would settle for a stadium that holds 20,000 seats or less. If necessary, I think that they would find a way to cough up the remaining monies to get the facility to 25-30,000 seats, if only to keep our Ticats here. If a decision is made to build the facility on the mountain, I don't think the taxpayer will have to put up the money because, IMHO, the private financial support would become available through sponsorships.

I don't see this stadium going to another city, but who really knows?

More and more, a mountain site makes sense to me, particularly because of the highway access, uncontaminated land that won't require millions of dollars for remediation and no restrictions on expansion and parking.

Frankly I see no folly in a waterfront stadium with good public and private transportation access. The other point is I'd really like to see a survey of where the ticket base resides before I'd put it in an equally challenged area on the mountain. The airport is very remote from lower Hamilton Burlington and Stoney Creek with virtually no pubic transportation from those locations. Top of the RHVP is remote from lower Hamilton Burlington Dundas and Ancaster with virtually no public transportation from those areas. Depending on the demographics of out fan base either of those sites appear to be disastrous

I agree with spike in that if assuming the west harbourfront is etched in stone as the site and if the monies don't come from the private sector to make the stadium 25,000 or so, then the city will find the monies with some caveat that the TiCats, putting very little or no money into the stadium have to pay more rent or that, as a way to sell to the taxpayer why it's going to cost them more.

I really don't think council can sell taxpayers on spending the $62M let alone running the bill up even higher

We should be thinking Camden Yards. Now, admittedly, this is a baseball stadium that hosts 81 games a year, but it is a destination that bring people in, and part of the attraction is the waterfront and the shopping and restaurants that are located there.

I think there are many issues where Rheem trumps Confederation Park, and these include:

  • people coming to the area on non-event days - nobody is going to come to Confederation Park on days where there is no event. So yes, you have a stadium sign visible from the highway, but what's the value of that and how does it compare to having a stadium that is the centrepiece of a new destination in the city

  • housing nearby to provide traffic (esp. foot traffic) on non-event days. Big potential for waterfront condo development, restaurants, shopping, etc. Seems to me that foot traffic (if you get it) is more valuable to many partners because people will stop to make unplanned food and merchandise purchases if they are on foot.

  • proximity to hotels - is CP a viable location for new hotel construction?

  • proximity to rapid transit (GO and new east-west rapid transit)...an essential for foot traffic, will be important when crude oil is $200 a barrel

  • proximity to Downtown core...I know most Hamiltonians don't think much of it now, but wait until GO is running 4 trains per hour during rush hour and 2 trains per hour the rest of the time...will change downtown significantly

Ultimately, I think the Rheem site, if they can pull off a Camden Yards style development, has the potential to bring in the most tax base too (read housing and businesses)...

just some thoughts...
red24

Again, the Rheem site is closer to the 403 than it is the Upper James and Dickenson Rd. .

uncontaminated land that won't require millions of dollars for remediation .
Ummm...cleaning the contaminated site is part of the reason for picking that site. All levels of gov`t want to clean up and reclaim brownfields. Cleaning it is a good thing, not a bad thing.
and no restrictions on expansion and parking.
Expansion of what.... What does expannsion have to do with a satdium.

Not only is there plenty of parking downtown, but there will be many more options on how to travel there.

This whole notion of access in a remote part of the mountain is quite ridiculous. Even has way less roads. Again, one two lane raod - Upper James which is a nightmare come rush hour.

I'd like to see "slots" built into the business model........it sure worked great for Flamborough Downs.....
(other than the occasional lottery ticket, I don't gamble myself but it would be a great revenue stream)

By the way, here's some shameless promotion for the Canadian Warplane Heritage MAS*H theme party and dance on March 6 .....they always do these things right......it should be a lot of fun.....

http://www.warplane.com/pages/MASH.html

When talking about highway access, we are talking proximity, we are talking ease of use. Have you ever tried getting from the 403 to the Rheem site during rush hour vs taking the 403 to the airport? BIG difference.

The problem with a brownfield is that it costs money to do so and the cost right now are undetermined. Also, who is paying for it? I agree that we want to clean up brownfields to attract business but the money is an issue for me. We have a city that has no money and we are going to tap into our future fund to build a stadium so I really want to know where the money is coming from.

The problem with parking downtown is that the Cats won’t get any money for it. The key to the Cats having a stadium with parking that you have to pay for is that it’s another revenue stream. Of the 600 spots how many will be reserved for the players, coaches, game day staff, plus broadcast trucks, etc, etc. That 600 in theory could get cut in half.

I take again the example of the Ralph in Buffalo. They force you to park in their parking lots for 25 bucks unless you want to walk 45 minutes. They get 70,000 fans and they don’t even play in Buffalo.

I know Kirk that you love downtown but if the Cats come out and say that it’s not their first choice but would support it, I think you need to also look at it through their eyes.

The issue I think the Cats are concerned about is that they will be told where to play and like Ivor Wynne will be confined to the space limitations that they currently have not have the ability to build what they want ie thousand of parking spaces.

The city seriously needs to open their eyes. The last time the city built something without a tennant it was called Copps Colliseum and it does nothing to attract people downtown.

I guess you can say the stick and carrot works both ways: if the city really wants the Cats on board, dangle the dough and vice versa, if the Cats really want another site, dangle the dough and say where. Or what's another analogy, cat and the mouse?

Just wanted to add a couple of points about the issue of stadium visibility. The Rheem factory site (i.e. the West Harbour stadium site) is visible when driving over the McQuesten Bridge just after entering onto York Boulevard from the Highway 403 exit although the view of it does become obscured by trees as one approaches the Dundurn Castle section of York Boulevard. Prominent stadium signage would therefore be seen from York Boulevard at the McQuesten Bridge.

Also, as mentioned by Earl in another post, a few good highway signs would help to identify the name and location of the stadium for fans travelling to the game via Highway 403 or other highways.

By the way, at the Hamilton City Council tonight, they formally voted to approve the West Harbour stadium location by the same margin of the vote at the Committee of the Whole meeting last week.

During the council discussion, the question arose as to whether the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been consulted during the process. David Adames, who is the City of Hamilton Pan Am Games liaison, confirmed that discussions have occurred with the Ticat organization during the process and he indicated that the Ticats would want to see more parking spaces near the facility. Councillor Terry Whitehead later said that he had spoken to Ticat president Scott Mitchell as recently as this afternoon and Mr. Mitchell said the Ticats will soon begin their own due diligence on the new stadium.

I don't think there's a big difference at all. Sure it slows down cuz it's rush hour, but it moves. But again, speaking of ease, one 2 lane road ( Upper James) will be a disaster. It is now.

Furthermore there are three exits ( York, Main from the west, and Main form the east)

The problem with a brownfield is that it costs money to do so and the cost right now are undetermined. Also, who is paying for it? I agree that we want to clean up brownfields to attract business but the money is an issue for me. We have a city that has no money and we are going to tap into our future fund to build a stadium so I really want to know where the money is coming from.
This will all have to be worked, but I'm confident the feds and the province will help clean it up. It's a proirity for all levels of gov't.
The problem with parking downtown is that the Cats won't get any money for it.
I've not read that anywhere. For all we know, sharing downtown parking revenue on gamedays could be an item for negotiation.
I take again the example of the Ralph in Buffalo. They force you to park in their parking lots for 25 bucks unless you want to walk 45 minutes. They get 70,000 fans and they don't even play in Buffalo.
Since it's the city that's building the stadium, why assume any parking lots on the mountain won't be city owned too?
I know Kirk that you love downtown but if the Cats come out and say that it's not their first choice but would support it, I think you need to also look at it through their eyes.
Agreed, but there are too mnay assumptions being made. I'm waiting for this process to play out. There's tons of time as the plans call for construction to begin two years from now. Let them work it out.
The last time the city built something without a tennant it was called Copps Colliseum and it does nothing to attract people downtown.
I dunno about that. When I go to concerts and the odd Bulldogs game, I see thousands downtown.

Succinctly put Earl, but yes. that's business, and that's what we're seeing right now. Each side trying to leverage the other. I'd expect no less from either side.

While some see this as some sort of disastrous conflict, I see it as normal business tactics .

I don't see the payoff in having a stadium that's visible from a major highway eg Confederation Park.
If it's all about selling advertising on the building, all I can say is that when I drive by the Scotiabank Centre (Ottawa Senators) next to Highway 417, I pay no attention at all to the signs on it. Traffic is moving too fast to be ogling at the signs.
If it's about access....people in the area know where it is. So for out-of-towners put up a sign in Confederation Park next to the QEW showing a picture of the new West Harbourfront Stadium....and how to get there.
Y'r welcome. :slight_smile:

Anywhere but the mountain/airport site.

I live on the East mountain and hate driving way the hell over there.. Its Wayyyy out of the way with absolutely dick all around it. And they'll slap their own parking lots around it for $10-$20 at least (and you cant park anywhere else.. unless youre driving a tractor)

Now my engineering background affords me with absolutely no business sense, but I really dont give a hoot, do not put the damn thing on the mountain!