It is official – the Edmonton Oilers have a new home at Rogers Place, which opened earlier this month. It was inaugurated by former Oilers superstar Wayne 'The Great One' Gretzky, who still holds 60 NHL records, including the one for most goals, despite him having retired 17 years ago.
The $600 million Rogers Place is a more than an ice hockey stadium – it is a multi-purpose arena. Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Kanye West and the Dixie Chicks are all scheduled to perform there before the end of the year. Cirque du Soleil also comes in to town and is slated to make an appearance at Rogers Place in December.
To the east of Rogers Place, the Grand Villa Casino has also opened to the public. This $32 million project has already added 200 jobs to the economy, and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment CEO Tony Santo points out that gambling is not the only thing possible at the casino. With 28 table games, 600 slots machines, VIP areas, a pub, a fish and steak restaurant, as well as separate fast-food outlets for coffee, burgers and pizza, residents of Edmonton will have another avenue for entertainment when the Oilers are not playing or stars performing at Rogers Place. Both these developments are part of the ICE District in downtown Edmonton.
There is more. The iconic Scotia Place, one of the tallest buildings in Edmonton, is all set to undergo a massive transformation beginning October 2016. The redevelopment is expected to cost $22 million and take 18 months to complete. Its three entrances will be redesigned, and some 13,000 new glass panels installed to make offices brighter by letting in more natural light. It also expects to receive LEED certification for its energy-efficiency at the end. These upgrades are on top of $10 million worth of improvements made in the past five years, which include modern elevators (the building was originally constructed in 1983), heating, cooling, high-efficiency lighting, and digital controls.
Because there is already access to Edmonton’s light rail transit system as well a bus stop, in addition to underground car parking as well as other amenities like a food court, a fitness center and car wash services, the owners expect its occupancy to be greater than the average for the area.