Part Rogers Place and part 25-acre Ice District, the fall opening of a new sports and entertainment district in downtown Edmonton has the folks of Canada seeing sports arenas and plazas an entirely new way.
The largest such district in the country, the 25 total acres includes—and in some cases will include, once everything is finalized by 2020—the brand-new 18,500-seat Rogers Place, home of the NHL’s Oilers, a community skating rink arena, 50,000 sq ft public plaza, two office towers, condos and a hotel as part of the district’s total $2.5 billion development.
The centerpiece of the district was the construction of the new Rogers Place, designed by HOK in the form of a drop of oil. Built by Edmonton-based PCL, the contractor took 928 days to complete the 1.1 million sq ft facility that includes seven levels within its 141 ft height.
Inside the new arena, along with all the NHL-style training facilities, locker rooms, equipment rooms and more for the players and modernized concessions and amenities for the fans comes 57 suites, 24 theater boxes, 3,100 club seats and 900 loge seats. The arena opened to the NHL regular season in mid-October.
During construction, 87 percent of all waste materials were recycled or reused and 20 percent of all material used in construction was recycled. With up to 1,200 workers on site per day during construction, PCL needed 9,000 tons of structural steel and 24,000 cubic meters of structural concrete to build the new NHL-ready arena.
Nelson Cassiano, PCL superintendent, says his favorite memory of working on the arena was the installation of the dressing room doors for the Oilers. “It is a historic moment,” he says. “I was born and raised here, watched the Oilers growing up.”
HOK dealt with the challenge of connecting the new arena to the Ice District and Edmonton’s downtown. As part of the solution, HOK extended the arena’s footprint over the main thoroughfare—104 Avenue—to connect the two parcels of land used in the development. This elevated, multipurpose entryway, turned into Ford Hall, enhanced by street-level commercial development. The covered extension allows the activation of Rogers Place and the Ice District all year.
Along with Rogers Place, and serving as a connection to the rest of the Ice District, the 25,000 sq ft Ford Hall offers a grand atrium entrance to the arena. The space will remain open 365 days per year to host stand-alone events or act as a gathering place prior to and during event inside Rogers Place.
The Community Arena rink, open to the public, will also serve as the practice site for the Edmonton Oilers and Oil Kings, offering yet another piece in what is new for Canadian sports.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.