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Latest article re: Vancouver stadium (Aug. 4)


Johnnie Monster

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Note: Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell is playing dumb when he says the city hasn't seen any formal stadium plans.

Councillor Jim Green has already confirmed</u> the city planning department has seen the full proposal, as does the reporter's anonymous source quoted below (likely a city planning officer).

Also note: The seller is "FHR Properties" aka "Fairmont Hotels & Resorts".... just like we were discussing before.

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The Province, Page A10, 04-Aug-2005

Whitecaps owner may be buying land downtown for new stadium

By Frank Luba

Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot may have found a new home for his team on Vancouver's waterfront.

On July 14, a numbered company linked to Kerfoot bought two adjoining parcels in Coal Harbour, The Province has learned.

One parcel, at 7.74 hectares, was bought by the numbered company 0718365 B.C. Ltd. for $18,434,000. It had been valued by the B.C. Assessment Authority at $13,466,00 in 2004. The smaller parcel, at 2.27 hectares, was assessed at $3,566,000 earlier this year. It was bought by the same numbered company for an undisclosed amount. Both properties were bought from FHR Properties Inc., formerly known as Canadian Pacific Properties Inc.

Kerfoot was not available for comment, but a highly placed official at Vancouver City Hall confirmed seeing plans recently for a downtown open-air stadium in Coal Harbour.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the plans include a 30,000-seat stadium, which could also be used for other events. The stadium would be built over existing rail tracks and possibly extend over Burrard Inlet and to the SeaBus terminal.

The land stretches from the foot of Granville to past Columbia streets -- essentially covering the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. CP Rail retains a right-of-way on the two parcels for its waterfront rail yard.

Kerfoot, a Burnaby-born multimillionaire who bought the 'Caps in 2002, has made no secret of his ambition to build a downtown stadium to replace the cramped confines of Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. But his sights were originally believed to have been set on the so-called False Creek Flats.

On March 4, Vancouver lawyer Kim Moller was listed as the sole director of the numbered company 0718365 B.C. Ltd. On the same day, Kerfoot replaced Moller as director and served in that capacity until June 9, when Moller became director again.

When former Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths learned of speculation that Kerfoot has his eyes on Coal Harbour for a stadium, he became an immediate supporter.

"As a location, it's outstanding," said Griffiths. "It's visionary.

"It's one of the areas I zeroed in on," he recalled of searching for a location for what would become GM Place Stadium.

Griffiths noted the Coal Harbour site is next door to the Waterfront Centre transit hub. The old train station is serviced by SkyTrain, SeaBus, the West Coast Express and Coast Mountain Bus Co.

Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell said he has heard rumors of a waterfront stadium proposal.

"It hasn't reached anywhere near to development starting," said Campbell. "It's an idea. I think it should be explored but that's really where we're at."

Campbell was skeptical about building a stadium above existing railway tracks. But Griffiths wasn't.

"Have you ever been to Madison Square Garden?" Griffiths said of the multi-storey facility built on top of a train station in New York.

CP Rail spokesman Ed Greenberg would say only: "CPR will work with the parties to facilitate appropriate development and to ensure ongoing service to our customers, including the Port of Vancouver."

fluba@png.canwest.com

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Hard to say.

With the amount of moolah he's throwing around (probably about $25 million + for the site alone) I can't help but picture Kerfoot driving a big money truck over to the building contractor and saying "Double your man-power and work around the clock. Make it happen!"

Construction in Vancouver isn't as seasonal as it is in another parts of the country... you can pretty much build here year-round.

For those not in Vancouver, it's worth noting that we have lots of experienced builders who have worked with pillar systems. Our elevated Skytrain network just went through a big expansion a couple of years ago, and it went up very, very quickly. The best people for this type of job are already right here.

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I am sure Kerfoot and everybody else would love to see the Coal Harbour project ready for the 2007 WYC but this is a long term major project that I am sure Kerfoot wishes to see properly planned and well executed. He also is not dependent on the WYC to secure government funding. I doubt there will be any compromises made to accommodate a three week tournament. He has already said if the stadium is not ready he will make an alternative plan.

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Larry Campbell's not playing dumb, he's downplaying things because he loves the BC Lions and he's rightfully scared of what might happen if a lovely new stadium gets built and the Lions are left in cavernous BC Place.

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quote:Originally posted by mjoni

Larry Campbell's not playing dumb, he's downplaying things because he loves the BC Lions and he's rightfully scared of what might happen if a lovely new stadium gets built and the Lions are left in cavernous BC Place.

That's the Lions' problem. Kerfoot is set to foot the bill himself, so Larry Campbell has no say in what goes on in the Casa de Whitecaps.

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