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Hamilton Bulldogs secretly want to build an arena at Lime Ridge Mall

Local hockey fans should be intrigued: according to a confidential report obtained by the Hamilton Spectator, our very own Hamilton Bulldogs sent an unsolicited proposal to the City of Hamilton asking to build a new multimillion dollar hockey arena and parking complex at Lime Ridge Mall.

In April 2018, Lime Ridge Mall owner Cadillac Fairview put forth (and subsequently placed a hold on) ambitious redevelopment plans and proposals for the mall and surrounding area, including the demolishment of the current empty north-end space that formerly housed the two-storey Sears department store to make room for an envisioned complex featuring numerous attached and adjacent restaurants, retail shops, and office spaces.

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It is unclear how significantly the Bulldogs’ proposal could affect these large-scale potential redevelopment plans, which currently remain “on hold” according to involved planning staff.

Many details of the arena proposal are currently unknown, including the details of construction costs, on which team owner Michael Andlauer declined to comment (but have been estimated at a potential $60 million).

The proposal could also provide an interesting alternative as city councillors continue discussions on whether or not to move forward with a redevelopment of Hamilton’s downtown entertainment spaces and the construction of a $130-million downtown sports complex.

That said, the Hamilton Bulldogs have stated they would commit to partially offsetting taxpayer costs with a “substantial contribution” towards building construction, and that they would handle all maintenance of the proposed 6,000 seat arena upon completion.

If approved, construction on the space would be scheduled to begin for March 2020 with the plan of completion and official opening of the arena and adjoining parking garage two years later in March 2022.

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