Saskatchewan embraces $450m sports PPP

The Regina city council has offered early approval on the reconstruction of a football stadium to be performed as a public-private partnership. Bidding could begin as soon as mid-2012.

In Saskatchewan, Canada, the city of Regina’s city council has hinted it will support the reconstruction of a new multi-million dollar sports arena using private capital. Last month, the committee reached an early agreement to structure the development of a new athletic facility as a public-private partnership (PPP).

“Now, we must move forward and start mapping out the PPP procurement process for the stadium portion of the project,” noted Brent Sjoberg, Regina deputy city manager and chief financial officer.

Final approval, however, must still be attained. “Based on the city council’s final approval, we will start a more formal process in the first part of 2012,” Sjoberg added. “We’d like to have final approval by June. Hopefully, it will be sooner than that, but that’s our target.”

The sports arena, which will replace the current home field for the city’s professional Roughriders American-style football team, is the first leg in a multi-stage project that extends to offering residential and commercial real estate, including affordable housing. 

Depending on the type of sports arena structure that is selected, the reconstruction phase will cost anywhere between $200 million and $450 million, half of which is expected to be financed with private capital.

“The revitalisation project is a bit of a stimulus for the overall community,” Sjoberg told Infrastructure Investor.

From start to finish, the entire project, including the housing, will cost approximately $987 million and will unfold over a period of 10-to-15 years, although completion of the football arena is targeted for 2016. The Roughriders football team will continue to use the existing stadium for events but the old facility will eventually be demolished once the new arena is built.

If early interest is any indication, Regina should receive a robust response from the private investment community. The city oversaw a market sounding process to gauge private sector interest, receiving responses from 19 North American and European firms. 

“They highlighted that this is a feasible project as a PPP and that as it moves forward, they are interested in bidding,” said Sjoberg.