Toronto Suburb Supports Arena Bid

Officials in the town of Markham, Ontario, have voiced their support for a $325 million proposed arena plan that would leave the city on the hook for half the bill.

The proposal, submitted on behalf of a group called GTA Centre Limited Partnership, includes the development of a 20,000-seat arena capable of hosting concerts, sports and other events on a 6-acre parcel of city-owned land. The plan would also include 4,400 parking spots.

In a presentation to town councilors, GTA Centre head Graeme Roustan explained that although the city will be asked to pay half the debt load up front, it will eventually recoup its investment, the National Post reported.

For one thing, GTA Centre will lease the building from the city, the plan notes, and ticket surcharges and tax increment financing on new development near the arena would also generate funds toward the debt.

TIF may not be the only way the city helps foot the bill through taxes, however. Markham Chief Administrative Officer Andy Taylor told the Post that, worst-case scenario, residents could also see a $32 per year tax increase for the next five years to pay for the building.

After a nearly unanimous vote in favor of the project, councilors amended their decision to allow other investors to present alternative proposals prior to an April 26 final vote, the Post said.

If approved, the plan could still face additional scrutiny from community members who’ve reportedly raised concerns over parking issues and costs associated with the building.