The proposed True North Strong Event Centre has Sudbury hockey enthusiasts excited, but the space could be for work, not just play.
The developers say it could be used for corporate events, and they want to build something big enough to house them.
"Sudbury is the capital of Northern Ontario. We want to design a conference, convention, events centre that is like-minded, on the same scale as the city," said Dario Zulich, the local developer who is leading the True North Strong bid. "We're not going to design a baby arena or a baby convention centre." Zulich is a local developer who recently purchased the Sudbury Wolves, and he's working on the True North Strong plan with his business partners, Perry Dellelce and Andrew Dale.
A new arena is one of four large projects being conditionally supported by city councillors. Others include a new art gallery and main library, an arena and events centre, the Synergy Centre, and Place des Arts.
The True North Strong team first presented their plan for a new arena to city council in November, and expect to hear whether theirs has been selected as the site by the end of May.
Zulich said he isn't worried, and is confident about it going forward.
"I never thought of it [not getting approved] because where else can it go," said Zulich.
Their pitch places the site in Sudbury's northeast end, two kilometres off the Trans-Canada Highway. There are some proponents for keeping the arena in the downtown area; however, Zulich is convinced their location is preferable, and said it will be appealing for corporate audiences.
He points to the "ample parking" they'll include, and their proximity to the airport.
"It's only one hour away from Toronto given our airport has so many flights to Toronto," said Zulich. "Being close to airport is paramount."
Zulich said he hopes the centre would help create a new district in that end of town, and compares it to the neighborhoods Falconbridge and INCO carved out for their employees.
Inside, the centre will boast two skating pads and a capacity of...