by Lisa Brown on 05/17/12 at 11:45 AM ET
Of course they are just artist renderings, but the new images of the downtown arena show a building that will be very different from anything the Edmonton downtown currently has. The arena features lots of windows, and open spaces and several access points with potentially less traffic disruptions than Rexall Place currently offers.
The key points of the design are still the iconic oil drop shape, the raised walkway crossing 104th avenue and an integregation with current and future businesses.
While attending summer concerts at Rexall Place this summer, Edmontonians should be able to begin imagining flowing pedestrian traffic within the concourse while they are stuck in a standstill in front of every washroom and turn in the arena. The current Edmonton arena, Rexall Place, has extremely narrow concourses and hallways on the lower level when compared to other NHL arenas and has to be the biggest complaint everyone has regardless of their reason for visiting Rexall Place.
And then there will be attending a hockey game at the Oil Drop or Oil Dome or whatever catchy name the city adopts. Sitting in new seats and most likely enjoying a cup holder and less accidental beer spillings.
The artist renderings feature a standing ovation for the indroduction of a healthy Taylor Hall as well as green leaves on the trees outside of the building. Of course this can only mean one thing; playoff hockey.
Edmonton City Council still has some concerns over funding, and there is still some money that has been unaccounted for, but the current plans are to break ground and begin construction in the spring of 2013. And this arena will be one of a kind, at least for now.
What will set this arena apart from many other NHL arenas is the open concept and the curved design. While most current arenas are large and roomy brick buildings the new Edmonton Arena looks more like a building you would see in the Jetsons with it’s smooth lines and metalic and glass look.
There are still many in Edmonton who oppose the new downtown arena, but there will always be critics of every project but hopefully seeing more images of what is to come will start to win people over. The new building will be built in an area of downtown that could use some TLC and if the new building can do even a small portion of what the new Columbus arena has done for their downtown, Edmonton will win.
The proposed practice arena was not discussed and we still have not seen any images for that design, but rumours are that Katz will be looking for provincial or federal funding for that, especially when the current purpose of the building is that it will be shared with the University of Alberta.
For those in favour of this project, the biggest disappointment has to be that the project does not start this summer instead.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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