Details of another Bomber Stadium Bid

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It's game on when it comes to a new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Canad Inns CEO Leo Ledohowski unveiled his $520-million vision for the CFL team's new home in St. Boniface yesterday, which includes $55 million for redeveloping the Bombers' home in Polo Park. That bid will now go up against two other proposals, most notably a $145-million plan from media magnate David Asper for a new complex at the stadium site at Polo Park.

Ledohowski's pitch would see the construction of a $265-million covered stadium -- Canad Inns would "gift" 35 acres of land to the Bombers and the football club would own the stadium -- alongside a new hotel and waterpark at the old Canada Packers site in St. Boniface. The city agreed to sell the property to the hotel chain last week for $1 million.

Asper's concept would end the long-standing structure of community ownership, with a private corporation running the football team.

With the Canad Inns proposal, the Bombers would remain community-owned, Ledohowski said.

"This is a true 21st-century proposal which is a true public-private partnership," Ledohowski told media at a press conference yesterday.

Ledohowski's plan hinges on an $80-million handout from taxpayers, a 50/50 split between the province and Ottawa. It's the same request Asper had earlier made.

"I think if the money doesn't come from the governments, we're going to have a problem pulling this together," Ledohowski said.

Premier Gary Doer's spokesman said it's premature for the province to comment on Ledohowski's pitch.

"We are letting the Bomber board review all proposals first before commenting on any one proposal," said spokesman Jonathan Hildebrand.

Ledohowski said $90 million of financing for the St. Boniface site would come from Maroons Road. Calling it "one of the most valuable pieces of commercial property in Winnipeg," Ledohowski said the site would be converted into the "Blue Bomber Plaza, by Canad Inns," a commercial hub that would be managed by the hotel chain but owned by the football club.


For the plaza, Ledohowski wants the city to forgive $29 million in property taxes for 15 years -- a request Mayor Sam Katz wasn't available to comment on yesterday.

With the covered complex and what Ledohowski described as "roll-up turf," the St. Boniface facility could be available year-round.

Asper, executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications Corp. and the team's former chairman, wants to invest $65 million to construct a partially covered complex which would replace the 29,500-seat stadium. It would be developed with retail and commercial space along its Empress Street boundary.

"Both public proposals are very exciting proposals," said Bomber board boss Ken Hildahl. "Both are very credible."

There is a third bid in the running to develop a new stadium for the Bombers. It's a public/private venture from the team and a developer that has yet to be publicly revealed. Based on comments from Hildahl, the proposal is not "site specific" and, like the others, requires taxpayer dollars.

It's unclear when a decision will be made by the football club's board on which bid will be accepted. Hildahl said the stadium subcommittee is aiming to make a presentation to the board next week, and he hopes it will be weeks instead of months before they can make their pick public.

Comparing the 2 bids


WHAT HE WANTS: To build a $265-million domed stadium at the former Canada Packers factory site in St. Boniface. The city recently agreed to sell the land to Ledohowski's hotel chain, Canad Inns, for $1 million.

WHAT HE'LL CONTRIBUTE: For the St. Boniface site, Ledohowski said he'll contribute $200 million, although $50 million would go towards a hotel and waterpark -- not the stadium itself. He's also talking about a $55-million investment to redevelop the Polo Park stadium site into an unspecified commercial venture.

WHAT HE'S ASKING FOR: Like Asper, Ledohowski wants $80 million from the provincial and federal governments. His plan also asks the city for 15 years of tax forgiveness at the old stadium site. Ledohowski said the Bombers would remain community owned.

WHAT THE STADIUM WOULD OFFER: Documents released to the media yesterday were vague on these points, but it's believed the Canad Inns pitch offers seating for 30,000 in its domed complex. Attached to the stadium would be a 200-room hotel, an indoor water park and "related amenities," according to a news release from the hotel chain.


WHAT HE WANTS: To build a $120-million stadium at the site of the existing Canad Inns Stadium. The partially covered facility would seat up to 40,000 fans.

WHAT HE'LL CONTRIBUTE: $40 million towards a new stadium and $25 million towards a two-storey commercial development with a restaurant pad. Asper said the public would own the new stadium.

WHAT HE'S ASKING FOR: The team, which has been owned by the community for 77 years and run by a non-profit organization managed by a board of directors since 1930, as well as the potentially lucrative stadium land. He also wants $40 million each from the provincial and federal governments.

WHAT THE STADIUM WOULD OFFER: Seating for up to 40,000, 13 concession stands, 24 private suites, a Blue Bombers Hall of Fame, elite fitness training facility, media centre, modern team offices, Blue Bomber retail operation, and fan interactive exhibition.

reading this makes one very skeptical of the canad-inn bid:

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Man, what is going on out there? I don't mean this negatively, quite the opposite, I mean, different proposals by different groups, fantastic!! Maybe Winnipeg is the place where I will retire if they can do this kind of stuff, lots of energy in that city it seems to make things happen.

this new idea ... STINKS .. literally .. For anyone that hasen't been to Marion St. before .. it basically smells like rotting flesh (because thats what it is). I'd vote for the mosquitto marsh over the rotting flesh idea...

Granted.. If I was still living in Winnipeg, I could drive home drunk in about 5 minutes (what used to be home)... i still think its a bad location.

GO BOMBERS!!! overall classy post..... :roll:

Personally, I think they oughta go with Asper.


  1. Stadium's bigger
  2. Budgeting seems more realistic.
  3. You get a private owner for the team, and I don't care what anyone says, that's better than public ownership.
  4. Less risk. The last thing current and future CFL cities interested in a new stadium need is something to point at and use as a cautionary tale.

Take a successful project over a big project any day!

And who knows, once Asper's an owner, he might think about cornering the professional sports market in Winnipeg so he doesn't have to deal with competition... can u say "NHL" anyone?

the MTS center, apparently, has veto power..they have to approve the construction of any indoor stadium...which is what canad-inns stadium is..

and according to these articles, MTS has not and will not approve..which is why asper went with an open-air stadium

then theres also the fact, canad-inns needs a huge bank loan to pull this off...and are asking more from the city/ province than asper ( combination of 15-year tax exemptions, $80 million in funds and the polopark location to be given to them even tho they are not building there ).

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He wants a total of $80 million in cash upfront from the province and the federal government. He wants a $29-million tax break from the City of Winnipeg. He also wants -- and this is where it gets murky -- exclusive development and managing rights for some unspecified commercial venture where the stadium now stands. In other words, Ledohowski wants to use lucrative real estate owned by taxpayers to help pay for the cost of a new stadium.

"Excess cash flow" -- whatever that means -- from that development would provide an additional $90 million towards the cost of the stadium.

That gets us to $199 million.

Confusing to say the least.
Couldn't the two groups get together and build the domed stadium which I presume is needed for maximum exposure year round.
As for the team, let Mr. Asper own it as a private entity.
Plus, one would want more seats at 40,000.

i’m not joking. Rotting Flesh … the kind of aroma that makes you gag and choke when you drive by the packing plant with your windows rolled up … its disgusting.

I dare anyone to attend Marion St. and inhale … then think to themselves … Gee, i’d love to hang out here for about 3.5 hours, 9 times a year …



It's not rotting's not even the packers or any other of those plants that smell. The smell comes from a mushroom plant a little ways down Archibald.

Neighbouring areas to old StB like Windsor Park and Southdale sometimes get a dog food like smell in the air which comes from Burns but nothing to the extent you speaking.

Off topic but has anybody heard anything about the plan to build a hog plant in the Transcona area? For those non-Winnipeggers who haven’t heard about it, the City of Winnipeg is seriously considering allowing a hog plant to be built inside the city. It’s things like this that make me hate living in this city sometimes. If I lived in the Transcona area I would be calling for Katz’s head right about now. Thankfully I don’t live in Transcona.

Also I agree, the Canad Inns proposal is asking for an awful lot. It just doesn’t seem all that feasible compared to Asper’s proposal.

The thing is you guys in Winnipeg have proposals and ideas that are being put on paper by people. Sure, lots of issues will crop up that need to be addressed and will get people's emotions going. This is natural as long as it doesn't turn into some sort of a back stabbing environment which could turn ugly. But I doubt that will happen. Some people might get a bit hurt along the way but in the end, I'm sure you will get something that Winnipeg can be proud of, like the MTS Centre and other stuff you have there.

If drummergod is right and this stadium only seats 30000 in an indoor environment, this offer will never be accepted. With the Grey Cup being held in a different city through the years, I just don’t see a Grey Cup being at Winnipeg too often if they can only seat 30000 with no way of expanding to 50000 like most outdoor stadiums.

But if the stadium had less seating, you charge more for tickets and end up with the same dollar figure at the end of the day, more or less anyways. All the same really. I bet the Als with the smallest stadium have the highest ticket prices in the league and with sell-outs, probably do ok as a 28,000 seater.

Let us be realistic here....Asper only wants the football club, because he got booted out last year....he wants to make his mark on the team. He doesn't care how he does it.

Both of the current bids have the vast amount of the money focussed on the non-football operations.

Building a new indoor stadium or upgrading the existing site with a covered (or partily covered) relies heavily on hotel and/or other commericial ventures.

The last time I noticed the Asper family doesn't hold on to money losers to long. And you don't get rich running a CFL team.

If the decision is to go with Asper, he should be forced to put $5Million into an endowment fund so when he sells the team in three or four years it can survive as a community club. Or better yet, put in place an agreement that would require Asper to turn over all aspects of the commericial properties he would gain at the stadium site.

There is a reason, why somebody is prepared to build and give a new stadium to the community owned bombers, it is because the property of the existing stadium is worth more as an extension to Polo Park Mall in the long run then what it will cost to build new at with all the government support.

asper said the stadium he builds will belong to the city…so if he( and im sure he wont )bails on the team he loves, the team can go back to being community owned and have a new stadium which is city owned ( same situation they’re in now, but a nicer/newer stadium in the same location ).

canad-inns is only interested in the real estate…why else would they build a stadium out in the boons ( which they purchased the unwanted land for a measly $1mill ) and still want ownership of the polopark site?..

I live pretty close to to the packer site and it DOES NOT smell anymore. It smells like donuts and coffee now cause a tim hortons is right by teasers now.

Both guys are good Winnipeg boys and both are no dummies when it comes to the business side of things. Both of these proposals are going to generate truck loads of money for the Bombers and the private business men.

i dont see how the canad-inns stadium bid is going to make money for the bombers, really?

they will still be playing in a 30K seat stadium, so they aint gonna sell more tickets than they did last year.

they wont own the stadium, so they aren't gonna make money from leasing it out for other things....

if asper is owner, the bombers dont need to make money outside of football....cuz asper is building a retail center to make the bombers money outside of the football operations, plus asper has boatloads of money....the bombers will be set 4 life.