$33.3 Million Budweiser Gardens Expansion Gets Green Light for 2024

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Plans are underway for a major lift and expansion of the city’s iconic Budweiser Gardens. The extensive $33.3 million refurbishment could commence as early as 2024, contingent on the city council backing the proposed financing arrangement.

Detailed scrutiny of the project’s Return on Investment (ROI) has been undertaken by the revered professional services firm KPMG and couched in a report submitted to the council’s Corporate Services Committee. For the past two decades, the city hall has reaped shared profits from this municipal-owned sports and entertainment facility. OVG360, the venue operator, advises a series of refurbishments coupled with a back-of-house expansion to fortify the Bud’s competitive edge in the forthcoming years.

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Deputy Mayor Shawn Lewis accentuates, “In a bid to stage more World Figure Skating Championships, World Junior Hockey Championships, or Memorial Cup Tournaments, we must acknowledge the evolution of the requisites for such events since the building’s inception.”

The comprehensive $33.3 million proposal is comprised of two construction phases: the initial phase laying emphasis on customer-focused enhancements ($15.1 million), succeeded by a second phase concentrating on the essential ‘back of house’ enhancements ($18.2 million).

The first construction phase encompasses enhancements to the Level 100 Club Lounge, Level 100 Multipurpose Event Space, Level 100 Knights Locker Room, Level 200 Private Suites and Corridors, Level 200 East Bowl Loges, General Food and Beverage Concessions, and General Audio/Visual and Technological Upgrades.

Subsequent enhancements to the Level 100 Multipurpose Event Space, Level 100 Office, Level 200 Backstage Club/Kitchen, Level 200 Administrative Office, Level 300 Feature Bar at North Concourse, along with General Audio/Visual and Technological Upgrades comprise the second phase.

The city, coupled with venue operator OVG360, will support 80 per cent of this revitalization project in a cost-sharing arrangement. Recently, KPMG was engaged to perform a top-tier review of the financial model, the reasonability of the assumptions made, and the resulting projections.

The city’s ROI for the first construction phase is pegged at 15.3 per cent, decreasing to 4.9 per cent for the second phase.

A staff repot displays, “Post taking into account the revised estimates and including KPMG’s observations, it’s estimated that expansion and renovation will generate an additional $53 million cash flow for the City over the current agreement term.”

The city’s share of the expenses would be borrowed, and gradually liquidated using the city’s annual revenue from the 4 per cent Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) levied on hotel rooms.

“The MAT was always designed to underwrite such enhancements and lifecycle renewals of touristic and recreational infrastructure,” stated the deputy mayor.

The Corporate Services Committee will examine the report elucidating the financial pros of the expansion on Oct. 3.

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