Halifax Stadium: Details of CFL stadium proposal released

Details of CFL stadium proposal released

The SSE proposal assumes that some or all the funds for the municipality’s financial support would be generated from a tax incremental financing (TIF) model

about 4 hours ago By: HalifaxToday Staff


With files from Mark Hodgins and Meghan Groff
We’re learning more about what Schooner Sports an Entertainment (SSE) has planned for a potential CFL stadium.

Halifax Regional Municipality CAO Jacques Dube made some of the proposal public Thursday morning.

According to the proposal, the total cost estimate for what is referred to as Phase One of the community stadium is just shy of $94-million, plus land acquisition costs which are estimated at less than $10-million.

SSE would look to borrow most of that from a third party lender, with an estimated the repayment of between $5–$6 million a year over 30 years.

Halifax would then pay a maximum of $2 million a year toward the debt.

There are five funding options outlined for HRM, but this is all under the assumption that the municipality uses a tax incremental financing model to support it.

The proposal calls for the province to contributing $3-to-4 million a year via an increase in the hotel bed tax and a new car rental tax.

SSE lawyer David Wallis said this proposal is a starting point of the conversation and he expects those number to move, but SSE would be looking for “contributions of that nature from those two levels of government.”

“My client’s contribution to this would remain at $1-million a year, plus taking on the operational cost, so if there is an over-contribution amount that goes beyond the debt payment, that would go to an account to cover capital expenses in the future,” he said.

The stadium would have a capacity of 24,000 for CFL games.

That would include a permanent community complex with the capacity of 12,000 seats, which could also be used to host community sport, recreation and cultural events.

Another 9,000 seats would be in a “semi-permanent? bleacher, which would permit the facility to host CFL games.

There would also be around 1,575 temporary seats in the stadium’s north end, along with a “party zone” in the end zones which would have a standing room capacity of around 2,000.

The information released this morning also includes five funding options laid out by SSE, all under the assumption that HRM goes with a tax incremental financing model to support it.

The proposal suggests construction of the stadium would create more than 3,000 jobs, and the operation of the stadium – paid for by SSE – would create about 2,000 jobs.

The aim would be for construction to be completed in just over 3 years.

Municipal staff will be assessing the proposal based on five priorities, and a report is expected late this year or early next year.

Statement from the CAO: Update regarding stadium proposal by Schooners Sport & Entertainment
A proposal for a site-specific development that includes a stadium and a commercial district was first received by the municipality from Schooners Sport & Entertainment (SSE) on Friday, August 30, 2019.
SSE forwarded the latest version of its proposal on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, following some initial questions and requests for clarification by municipal staff.
In the interest of transparency, the municipality sought approval from the proponent, SSE, to release the proposal publicly. SSE has consented to public disclosure of the proposal – with the exception of five appendices (A, G, H, I and O) containing information that is the property of a third party. SSE is currently working with the third party to review and redact information, as necessary, prior to releasing these documents publicly. Once any required redaction has been completed, and approval has been granted, we will be publicly disclosing the remaining documents.
Contents of the SSE proposal that have been approved by SSE for public release can be accessed via the municipal website.
Below is a high-level overview of the key aspects of the proposal as well as the next steps that need to be taken by the municipality in assessing the submission and preparing a report for presentation to Regional Council.
Key components of the proposal
The submission is comprised of a main body (approx. 35 pages) and a total of 15 appendices (approx. 430 pages), of which five cannot be publicly released until approval is granted by SSE.
The proposal content addresses a range of topics, including, but not limited to:
• SSE partnerships (e.g. Canada Lands Company, Sport Nova Scotia)
• Design principles for design of a stadium
• Incremental benefits (e.g. residential, commercial)
• Timing of build-out for residential and commercial areas, and absorption assumptions
• Projected sales and construction value of the residential and commercial real estate in the development site
• Design and capital costs
• Land acquisition costs
• Proposed ownership structure
• Funding support SSE is seeking from the Halifax Regional Municipality
• Funding assumptions
• Funding and financing options
• Direct and indirect economic impacts (e.g. locally, provincially and regionally)
• Alignment with Council priorities
The SSE proposal assumes that some or all the funds for the municipality’s financial support would be generated from a tax incremental financing (TIF) model. As part of the Oct. 30, 2018 motion by Regional Council, the TIF model was identified as a potential means for the municipality to secure funding for the debt financing of a stadium.
Five funding options are outlined in the SSE proposal regarding the manner (timing, mechanism, etc.) in which the municipality may consider using the funds generated from the TIF to contribute to the stadium.
Option #1: Maximum Financial Contribution of $2M Per Year Over the Term of the Loan with TIF Revenue Going Directly to SSE
Option #2: Upfront Cash Payment
Option #3: Smaller Upfront Cash Payment with Committed Cash Payments over the Term of the Loan

Option #4: Loan Guarantee
Option #5: Sliding Scale of Committed Cash Payments
Approach to assessment of SSE proposal
Over the coming months, the municipal project team will be analyzing the proposal through several perspectives, including:
Planning – A review of the development concept and form, site constraints, and the identification of a path forward to enable Regional Council’s consideration of new planning policy for the lands, including an appropriate public consultation program.
Municipal Services – Alignment with the objectives of the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP); focus will be placed on reviewing the proposal in terms of impact on the existing transportation network, as well as the future potential opportunities for public transit and active transportation. It is important to note that the SSE proposal does not include a detailed transportation plan. As identified in the Oct. 30, 2018 staff report, expanded transit services will need to be considered as part of any potential plan to proceed with a multi-purpose stadium.

Sports & Recreation – Alignment with the municipality’s strategic recreation plans, such as the Community Facility Master Plan 2; opportunity and impact to other municipal assets and programs; open space and parkland components provided through the proposed project; and opportunity for event hosting at the venue and impact to overall event mix and other venues across the municipality.
Finance – A comprehensive financial analysis to quantify the cost/benefit of the project both in the short and long term; confirmation of the total financial request from the proponent, both capital and operating; assessment of the deal structure, including evaluation of proposed financing options and associated risks for each; evaluation of the economic assumptions in the proposal, absorption rates and the impact on tax revenue projections as well as the potential benefit (incremental tax benefit) of having a stadium in Shannon Park; collaboration with multiple business units – including Transportation & Public Works, Planning & Development, Halifax Transit, and Parks & Recreation – to understand the impact of the proposal on municipal service costs and tax rate.
Regional Council Priorities – The proposal will also be assessed in terms of enabling the municipality to deliver on Council priorities.
General timeline for assessment and presentation of staff report
Per direction from Regional Council, the review by municipal staff must include evaluations on the need, cost-benefit, risk, economic impact, partnership opportunities and current cost estimates. It is anticipated the CAO’s report with recommendations will be presented to Regional Council in late winter/ early spring.
Given the significant scope and scale of the proposed initiative, careful and extensive analysis is required on the part of the municipality. This will not only include an analysis of the proponent’s business model but also an assessment of all potential municipal business unit operational service impacts, capital requirements, etc.
Discussions must also be held with numerous local agencies, such as Halifax Water and Nova Scotia Power, as well as Canada Lands and government departments at the provincial and federal level before a report can be tabled for Council’s deliberation.
To provide Council with the thorough analysis and insights it requires to make a well-informed decision on this matter, the municipal project team must complete its due diligence. This reflects not only the respect owed to the citizens whose tax dollars we steward, but also the proponents who have committed many months to developing and compiling the information presented in the proposal.
Even after completing significant analysis as part of the due diligence, it is to be expected that Regional Council will have questions related to the CAO’s report requiring further investigation by staff as well as follow up with the proponent.
It is also important to point out that a decision by Council to proceed with the proposal would require the subsequent fulfilment of several conditions set out by Canada Lands before sale of the Shannon Parks site to SSE can be considered. These conditions include:

  • the municipality working with SSE to conduct public engagement; the nature and timing of that public engagement is the responsibility of SSE
  • the municipality and the province indicating to Canada Lands their support for the community stadium in the interest of municipal and broader regional community benefit
  • Canada Lands and SSE coordinating efforts with the Millbrook First Nation and their neighbouring development plans
  • the municipality approving a revised concept plan — one which includes the development principles supported by the community during Canada Lands’ initial consultation process

Halifax releases $100-million stadium plan
Nicole Munro (nmunro@herald.ca)

Published: 2 hours ago
Updated: 1 hour ago
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Perspective view of the proposed Shannon Park Halifax stadium. - Don Ellis Architecture
A CFL stadium proposed for Halifax would cost about$100million, according to the Schooners Sport and Entertainment’s plans released to the public Thursday.
A $94-million price tag for the stadium, which doesn’t land acquisition costs estimated at less than $10 million, is only Phase 1 of the plan for Shannon Park.
Halifax Regional Municipality released the latest proposal, received on Sept. 17, to the public “in the interest of transparency,? Jacques Dube said in an emailed statement from HRM.
About 24,000 fans would be able to take in a CFL game at the stadium, with 12,000 permanent seats, 9,000 semi-permanent bleachers, 1,575 temporary seats and end zones with standing room of about 2,000, the proposal says.
The projected timeline has a construction start date of February 2020. The timeline is preliminary and has not yet been approved.
Schooners stadium proposal,… by Chronicle Herald on Scribd

Schooners Sports and Entertainment’s proposal includes five funding options: maximum financial contribution of $2 million per year over the term of the loan with TIF revenue (property taxes collected from within a designated surrounding district) going directly to Schooners Sports and Entertainment, upfront cash payment, smaller upfront cash payment with committed cash payments over the term of the loan, loan guarantee or sliding scale of committed cash payments.
The funding options are based on the assumptions that the province will increase the existing hotel bed tax and bring in a rental car tax with those tax increases to go directly from the province to the owner of the stadium or lender. The proposal projects provincial payments in the range of $3-4 million per year.
“We are looking forward to this next stage of our discussions with the Halifax Regional Municipality to develop a multi-use community facility to anchor the exciting new development plans for Shannon Park,? Schooners Sports and Entertainment group said in a statement.
“We’re excited about what the future holds for this great city and region, and we’re looking forward to working with the community to build something for all of us — a place that brings us together to play, to watch and to celebrate.?
The Canadian Football League said commissioner Randy Ambrosie will “continue to work with the Atlantic Schooners group towards the goal of a CFL franchise in Atlantic Canada, and that a viable stadium is critical component of reaching that goal.?
Dube is expected to present Halifax regional council with a report on recommendation in late winter or early spring.
“It is to be expected that regional council will have questions related to the CAO’s report requiring further investigation by staff as well as follow up with the proponent,” HRM said in the release.
“The information provided in this statement will be the extent of any public comment regarding the status of the SSE proposal and efforts by municipal staff to complete its assessment and prepare a recommendation report for regional council.”

How could the stadium be put on the back burner? This a make work project for rebuilding infrastructure post Pandemic. A stadium will help the recycle of the local economy. This could kill expansion in the Atlantic region

It's on the far back burner. Who is going to pay for it? The provincial and local governments have a huge deficit and debt to pay off after this pandemic.
They wouldn't be able to raise the capital to finance a stadium.
The Schooner's group was to raise over $100 M through private financing towards the project but that would be impossible with the pandemic.
As that council woman said, the pandemic has changed priorities.

Then the Halifax franchise is done.

The CFL is wasting time on Halifax.

Clearly they don't want and need a franchise.

With this potential merger with the XFL (unlikely) will make Halifax a less of a draw for American TV.

If the stadium could have been financed 100% privately, the Irwin family would have built one by now.


Honestly they should do more with Moncton then. If they don’t have an ownership group there then hold several games a year with different teams every summer. You will have fans head out for a Maritime holiday from different CFL cities to attend the games. Start to build a bigger fan base so if the conditions change in a few years maybe you can put a smaller stadium in Halifax or expand Moncton’s. Problem with these owners is they’ve always been small time thinkers, never think outside of their own little kingdom or what will benefit the league down the road.

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Why blame business guys in Halifax who do not want to spend on a CFL franchise?

It's not just about a CFL franchise. It's about attracting major events with visitors spending money :money_with_wings::moneybag: in town.

Or have them bring a brick at a time to build a venue which means there will another pandemic happening a 100 years from now.

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I didn’t blame business owners in Halifax. More on the existing CFL owners. Sure it is not a good time right now, but had they done something like this over the previous 10-15 years there may have been more of an appetite for the league out east. Sometimes you have to be willing to put lose some money up front to have it pay off down the road.

It is understandable why Halifax is hesitant.

But if the CFL was run as a business would that have changed their mindset in regards to the CFL?

They (CFL) have been trying since 1982.

I say it's time to move on.

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in what league do other owners build a stadium/arena in another city for unknown owners?

You do have a point there.

Can't come up with one at the top of my balding head.

What I suggested was to host more games there, not for the CFL to build a stadium. There’s already a 10000 seat stadium in Moncton. If you can find an owner down the road who’s willing to support a franchise, they could partner with governments ( municipal, provincial, federal) and slowly build improvements and capacity in the facility if the appetite isn’t there for Halifax. These things don’t have to be Taj Mahals like IGF or Mosaic. The original BMO Field was done on the cheap, and suited Toronto FC fine for years.

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ok....but I think the ship has sailed on Halifax. I don't think enough real interest has emerged. I mean it has been on their radar for 40 years.

I would try Victoria and Kelowna instead.

Maybe so unfortunately. But they were pretty close to something before the pandemic hit, much farther then they ever got in the 80 s. Lots of universities still playing 3 down ball out there. Have games on a Saturday afternoon and it could be a tremendous regional draw. Would love to see it someday but who knows what state the league will even be in a few years from now?

The CFL should concentrate on Moncton instead if Halifax is going to bail on the league


But to get fans and keep a season ticket base you need a decent stadium. Gone are the days when fans would sit on steel benches with no backs on the benches.
BMO started out as a temp stadium but MLSE spent another $150 Million putting in an upper deck a roof over the stands and all seats no benches.

The CFL has to get back on it's feet and hope fans will come out to the existing stadiums in Montreal, BC and Toronto.
Unless some rich investors come out and finance a stadium in Halifax, it's not happening and the league needs to focus on getting investors and/or financing so they can play this year.

Those easterners are a lot tougher than us mochaccino sipping wimps in southern Ontario lol. I sat on bleachers in Calgary at the last Grey Cup and somehow managed to survive.

For sure, the league will need to get back on its feet before they can contemplate adding another team. But I don’t think they should let this die.

It's over move on, just worry about the CFL coming back to the existing 9 teams.