What is an event and entertainment district?
An event and entertainment district is a shared public space where every resident and visitor feels welcome and has a sense of belonging. It is a gathering place for entertainment and events, with a variety of restaurants, venues, shopping, and nightlife. It is an animated public area of thriving business and entertainment, accessible to everyone.
Why build a new event centre/arena?
In March 2018, assessments were done on SaskTel Centre and TCU Place as part of a market analysis. It was discovered that SaskTel Centre's event activity and attendance levels exceeded the venue's ability to operate efficiently and comfortably. Only the most intensive - and expensive -renovations would extend the life of the structure, but would also result in a less than state-of-the-art venue. The market analysis concluded that both SaskTel Centre and TCU Place were nearing the end of their useful life and recommended that the event centre/arena replacement would best be situated downtown.
In November 2018, City Council directed Administration to include a future event centre/arena and convention centre when planning for the future of Saskatoon's Downtown and to ensure the planning work include consideration of an event and entertainment district.
The creation of a successful District will have significant benefits for Saskatoon — a new downtown event centre/arena, a new/enhanced convention centre, and the future BRT are the key public infrastructure investments that will drive further investment in the Downtown area, in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan.
In Saskatoon, the vision for a Downtown Event & Entertainment District is anchored around an event centre/arena and a convention centre, made accessible through the future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
Where will the Downtown event centre/arena be located?
City Council has not made a decision as to where the Downtown event centre/arena will be located. Five potential site options for the Downtown event centre/arena were identified and studied to see if they were of suitable size for a modern event facility, with a capacity comparable to the existing SaskTel Centre (15,000 bowl seating capacity). Sites were ranked in accordance with nine evaluation criteria, covering everything from land area, to proximity to parking and existing hospitality offerings, to development costs and closeness to the future Bus Rapid Transit.
Below is a summary of the assessments of all five sites.
This assessment identified the following two sites as being feasible for an event centre/arena:
- Midtown Shopping Centre North Parking Lot - This is the current parking lot across the street from TCU Place, next to the Hilton Garden Inn.
- North Downtown/City Yards - This is between the new police station and 1st Avenue on the north side of 25th Street.