Molson Stadium Expansion

Als planning for stadium expansion

Canadian Press

6/20/2005 6:24:31 PM

MONTREAL (CP) - The Montreal Alouettes are looking for $27 million, mostly from three levels of government, to complete a second phase of expansion to 90-year-old Percival Molson Stadium.

The CFL club, which has sold out 54 consecutive games at the cosy, 20,202-seat facility nestled into the side of Mount Royal on the McGill University campus, announced Monday it hopes to increase seating capacity to 25,000.

The work would include construction of a second tier of seats on the south grandstand, new seating in the east end zone and 20 corporate boxes.

Team president Larry Smith said the expansion was needed to ensure the team's survival.

"Without having a bigger facility, you're not going to succeed medium-term," he said. "As well as we have our costs under control, salaries will always creep up, so you have to at least have the potential of increasing your revenues.

"When you have an average salary of $65,000 to $70,000, there's room for growth in salaries."

At the current average ticket price of $49, the Alouettes could earn more than $2.1 million per season from tickets alone with the expansion.

Smith hopes to raise $4 million in private funding, with the rest coming from the city, the province and the federal government.

The stadium is owned by McGill, which gave the city some access to its sports facilities in exchange for its contribution to the first phase of the project completed in 2003.

"When you don't own the property, it's hard to put your own money in," said Smith, who is confident he can get government support.

"We've lobbied the three levels of government over the last six to eight months," he said. "Governments recognize the work we do in the community. In three or four months, we'll see where we stand."

The Quebec government put up $40,000 to help pay for preliminary work on the project and municipal affairs minister Nathalie Normandeau said the expansion would help feed "the public fervour for football in Montreal."

Michel Prescott, vice-president of the city's executive committee, said city hall supports the project but isn't sure yet how much it can contribute.

The three levels of government contributed $4 million each under the federal infrastructure program to the $13.3-million cost of phase one.

That work included rebuilding the crumbling grandstands and installing new washrooms, lighting and a modern press box, but only 200 new seats were added.

Using the infrastructure program this time would cost the three levels of government more than $7 million each.

"We'll have to talk to Quebec and the federal government to see which program is used," said Prescott.

Smith said private money was also being sought and donors would have their names inscribed on a wall. They can also get a tax deduction for contributing to a university facility.

The project includes an attractive new entrance on the east side, which faces onto another beautification project, the $25-million dismantling of an unsightly traffic interchange.

One of the popular retro features of the stadium is its old-fashioned scoreboard, which shows the time, the score and little else, but Smith said that would be replaced by a giant $2-million video screen.

The team hopes to begin construction next year and have it completed by June, 2007.

The stadium, which has a FieldTurf artificial playing surface, is approved for use in international soccer matches, but will not be a venue for the world youth soccer championships that year.

The Montreal Impact of the United Soccer League, another thriving smaller-scale sports franchise, is building a new 13,000-seat stadium with a natural grass field that is expected to be a venue for the under-20 tournament.

Molson Stadium was built in 1915 and was expanded to 26,191 seats in 1959, but then had its south side grandstand cut down when the facility was modified as the field hockey venue for the 1976 Olympics.

How many years have they been trying to do this?

$25 millioin for 5,000 seats is obscene. Get real.

The 27 mil id for more than just seats
Among the planned renovations that will bring stadium capacity to over 25,000 seats is the construction of a second deck on the south side (over 3,000 new seats), the construction of new stands on the east side (over 1,500 new seats), the construction of a permanent section in the east end zone (a few hundred new seats), and the construction of 20 permanent corporate loges which will bring the total of corporate loges to 30.

In addition to the expansion project, the organization is planning the construction of a new ticket office which will be completely integrated into the mountain. The addition of a wrought iron fence with brick columns running from the east entrance to the north secondary access will preserve the architectural integrity of the historic site, with the east entrance becoming the main stadium access. Also in the plans is the construction of a Builders’ Wall recognizing the generous private contributors who have aided in the project.

And a new scoreboard

Go back to Olympic stadium and apply profits to pay off that debt first.

Its paid.
And if its wasn't why should the Als profits got to pay it off

When was it paid off?

Couple of years ago

Robert Wettenhall has personally been losing millions giving Montreal the Alouettes and the CFL,why the hell should his profits have anything to do with the Big O debt?,which is being paid off by smokers and Quebecers. Or has recently been paid off, I’m not sure which.

Maybe they should do what the city of Cornwall did to the hockey areana when the gov helped fund it. LOL very funny story, they have i think a 5k seat arena and that was what the gov was supposed to pay off. so instead of finnish the seating down to the ice the city just put a wall straight down from the last row of seats the gov paid for and put the ice in the middle of the pit.

Too bad the Als couldn't pull off something like that and get away with it as they are always sold and I'm not buying from a scalper to see my Riders play there.

On that note why doesn't PQ ban scalping anyways like the other provinces? just a thought.

I think scalping is illegal not not too high on the cop's priority list.
BTW I agree with you, I wont pay a scalper one cent for his tickets

I think it was Red& White in an earlier thread that pointed out that once you start building up higher, construction costs start increasing dramatically.

In recent years I have been involved in a few construction projects and have been amazed at the costs involved.

I have not been to McGill but hope to sooner then later. From what I have been told and from what little bit one can gather from TV, it's an amazing place to watch a game. What with all the government waste and fraud, good for the Als in trying to get their share. It's certainly going to better use as CFL is truly Canadian and unifying. Which begs the question, why can't someone in Halifax do likewise for the federal portion and get their stadium going?

Why don't they just fix the Big O and move the Al's back in there???

Remember, the price is $25M because they have to work within the restrictions of the existing structure. They would almost get more bang for the buck if they leveled one side of the stands and rebuilt from the ground up.

Big O is impossible to fix....

Did I just read that right......

They once had 26,000 seats, but knocked down an entire side because of field hockey for the olympics????????????????? :?

What the?

So basicly the Big O has become a Giant tombstone???

it could make a giant garbage can ....

Seriously, once who've taste football in McGill stadium, there's no going back ! Big O is ok when you want to host playoff game and have 50k + crowd, but not much imo.

Is that white elephant paid for yet?