Kingsway Entertainment District in Sudbury moves forward
SUDBURY -- The Kingsway Entertainment District development went before the Greater Sudbury city council Wednesday night, leading, as usual, to a divided debate.
But after four hours, a motion was put forward shortly after 10 p.m. to "end the discussion on the issue," which passed 7-to-6, with Mayor Brian Bigger casting the tie-breaking vote.
Now that the latest report and feasibility study is out and has been presented to council, the city is set to move forward with the Kingsway location for a new community arena.
The development also includes private developments -- a new Gateway Casino and a hotel. It was approved in 2017, and has gone through several legal challenges before they were all dismissed last year.
KED developer Dario Zulich said he’s pleased with the outcome.
“I was happy that mayor and council decided to continue to move forward with their decision made four years ago and to move forward to create jobs and tourism, and add that economic of ripple effect of the KED,” said Zulich, who owns the land where the development will be built.
He sold the land to the city for the arena for a nominal sum.
Zulich said there is a “drop-dead” date of no later than six months to firm up agreements to move forward, and to close deals with casino and hotel partners.
“Nothing really happens without a date, and I just want to demonstrate my commitment to making things happen," he said. "COVID is almost behind us now and we have a lot of work in front of us, and we got to get things moving. So it’s just demonstrating my commitment to the project -- and I am committed.”
Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland said he’s disappointed, and said a new downtown arena would be the better option.
“The consultant brought every successful example was in the downtown," McCausland said. "He had example after example of decreased vacancy, increased assessment value, new businesses, huge benefits, and I asked him for one ... what’s one example of a suburban arena in similar circumstances that is successful? He could not give me one example.”
McCausland said the city needs to live within its means instead of spending $114 million on the project.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now and if we can get all that benefit, get the outcomes we want, with only 50 or 60 per cent of the cost … I think that’s going to serve our city the best,” he said.
McCausland said he will be presenting a new motion at the next council meeting June 29.