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City Explores Event Centre Opportunity with Thunder Bay LIVE!
Date: January 21, 2014
Time: 12:01 PM
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January 21, 2014 – The City of Thunder Bay has identified a potential partner following completion of the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued as part of Phase 3 for the proposed Event Centre. A Council resolution has authorized City Administration to negotiate a non-binding Letter of Intent for partnership with a consortium called Thunder Bay LIVE!, which will allow the City to move forward with developing the Event Centre including a 5,700-seat spectator facility and 50,000-square foot Convention Centre.

The Thunder Bay LIVE! consortium is made up of Stadium Consultants International; Global Spectrum Facility Management; True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd.; Lakehead University and the Lakehead Thunderwolves; PCL Constructors Canada Inc.; and BBB Architects Toronto Inc.

“From day one I have stated we are going to do our homework on this project,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “We reviewed five great proposals through our extensive process which allowed us to identify our recommended partner. Thunder Bay Live! has the complete package to realize our vision for a world-class multi-purpose Event Centre.”

“This partnership provides the City access to diverse event opportunities like major concerts, tradeshows, conventions and sport,” Councillor Joe Virdiramo, member of the RFEI Review Team and Chair, Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee. “The Thunder Bay LIVE! team has put together a unique partnership to help the City create a multi-purpose facility that contributes to the economic diversification for Thunder Bay and region – it’s much more than a hockey arena.”

“Thunder Bay LIVE! is extremely excited about being selected to help further the vision of the City of Thunder Bay for a multi-purpose entertainment, sports and convention centre,” said Gary Green, Senior Director – Stadium Consultants International,  a subsidiary of BBB Architects Toronto Inc., and spokesperson for Thunder Bay LIVE!. “Thunder Bay LIVE! is a collaborative team that has brought together the best in Spectator/ Event Centre Development. Our experienced team of experts is committed to working closely with the City and the residents of Thunder Bay to help realize your vision. Thunder Bay is a very attractive market with real economic development opportunities and we are pleased to be a part of the ongoing transformation of the City.”

This proposal provides the City with two solid anchor tenants and world-class partners with the experience and financial resources to move the project ahead – a best case scenario in RFEI processes, according to the City’s consultant Ron Bidulka, Managing Director –PricewaterhouseCoopers. As part of its submission, Thunder Bay LIVE proposes to bring an American Hockey League (AHL) franchise to the City along with the Lakehead University Thunderwolves as anchor tenants.

City Administration will report to Council on the status of the Event Centre project, including the Letter of Intent, for approval prior to April 14. The RFEI partner selection is an important step in the process of developing the proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre.

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Contact:  Mayor Keith Hobbs, 625-3601
Michael Smith, 684-2774 
Gary Green, Thunder Bay LIVE, 954-818-2284


Thunder Bay LIVE! Proposes Dynamic Event Centre for City 

Stadium Consultants International
Stadium Consultants International provides consulting services for the marketing, programming, financial feasibility to the public and private-sector creators of sports, entertainment and convention facilities.

Contact: Craig Bissell, Marketing/ Public Relations, 416-591-8999 x: 442 or

Global Spectrum
“Thunder Bay is a very important and strategic market for Global Spectrum and our rapidly growing Canadian network of managed facilities.  Thunder Bay links our solid base of business in Southeastern Ontario with our other Canadian operations,” said John Page, COO of Global Spectrum. “The proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre Complex could include our 2nd Canadian AHL arena and we are equally anxious for the opportunity to manage the new 50,000 square foot convention centre.”
“This opportunity is very similar to the one we were awarded in London where we have had 11 years of extremely successful management of the Budweiser Gardens,” said  Frank Russo, Global Spectrum’s Senior Vice President of Business Development & Client Relations.  “This facility has had an enormously positive impact on the City of London and its Downtown core.  We are looking forward to producing similar results for the City of Thunder Bay.”

Global Spectrum Facility Management ( manages Budweiser Gardens, as well as more than 120 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 15,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year.

Contact: Ike Richman,Vice President Public Relations,, 215-389-9552

True North Sports & Entertainment
"True North Sports and Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club are excited about the prospect of operating our American Hockey League (AHL) franchise in Thunder Bay. We are well aware of the community's rich hockey tradition and are confident that Thunder Bay would be a great location to develop our future prospects.

We have enjoyed much success in the AHL since joining in 2001, and would seek out the necessary approvals from the League to relocate to this great Canadian hockey market should our group be successful working with the City to bring a new Event Centre to Thunder Bay. True North fully supports City Council's vision of a multi-purpose Event Centre in Thunder Bay's vibrant Waterfront District."

True North Sports & Entertainment (True North) owns and operates the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, the MTS Centre and an American Hockey League franchise.

Contact: Scott Brown, Director Corporate Communications - True North Sports & Entertainment, 204-799-6392 or

Lakehead University
"Lakehead University and the Lakehead Varsity Hockey Corporation are extremely pleased that the City of Thunder Bay has selected our group of partners for the next phase of this initiative," said Tom Warden, Lakehead University's Director of Athletics. "We are confident that, when completed, this state of the art facility will help our University continue to build and strengthen all of Lakehead's varsity programs, and become an optimal venue for many other university events."

Contact: Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, (807) 343-8177

PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
"PCL Constructors Canada Inc. is extremely excited to be part of the Thunder Bay LIVE! team and the Thunder Bay Event Centre development,” said Sean Barnes Vice President & District Manager of PCL Constructors Canada Inc. “We are pleased to be able to further our tremendous working relationship with the City of Thunder Bay and fully anticipate that the Event Centre will become the focal point for the City and its citizens.”

Contact: Mike Long, Media Relations Manager – PCL Constructors Canada Inc., 

BBB Architects Architects Toronto Inc.
"BBB Architects are excited to be part of the 'Thunder Bay Live' team,” Chris O’Reilly, Partner – BBB Architects Toronto Inc. “We look forward to working closely with the City, community stakeholders and our team members to create a dynamic Event Centre for the people of Thunder Bay."

Contact: Craig Bissell, Marketing/ Public Relations – BBB Architects Toronto Inc.,


Contact:     Valerie Marasco, Communications Specialist – Corporate Communications &
Strategic Initiatives, 807-625-2438, cell 807-621-4151 or

City Explores Event Centre Opportunity with Thunder Bay LIVE!

Q/ What is a Non-binding Letter of Intent?
A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a document outlining an agreement between two or more parties before an agreement is finalized. An LOI is typically used to initiate partnerships and are non-binding from a legal perspective. It sets out terms for how the partners will work together, next steps and important milestones.

Q/ Who is Thunder Bay LIVE!?
The Thunder Bay LIVE! consortium includes Stadium Consultants International; Global Spectrum Facility Management; True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd.; Lakehead University and the Lakehead Thunderwolves; PCL Constructors Canada Inc.; and BBB Architects Toronto Inc.

Q/ Does this mean the Event Centre is a done deal?
 No, it is another important step in the process and final approval of the project by Council is dependent on many other pieces coming together including securing funding from other levels of Government, the detailed business plan and detailed design. Selecting a partner from the Request for Expression of Interest responses is an important part of exploring the possibility of a Thunder Bay Event Centre.
Q/ What about Federal and Provincial funding?
Discussions are ongoing and very positive with respect to Phase 3 funding applications.
Q/ What are the economic benefits of the Event Centre?
 The Phase 2 Feasibility Study for the Event Centre determined that overall, the development and operation of the Event Centre will have a substantial benefit for Thunder Bay, including the following estimates:
• $149.4 million in total economic benefits during the construction of the facility
• $79 million in employment income growth
• 1,120 to 1,130 person years of employment
• $17.2- $17.4 million in direct tax revenue to the Federal and Provincial Governments$10.8 - $16.8 million in annual economic benefits during the facility’s operations including $4.6 - $5.4 million annually in employment income growth annually, and $3.4 – $4.6 million annually in direct Federal and Provincial tax revenue
• Attraction of numerous new events along with conference delegates and other visitors – estimated at $6.1 million in new visitor spending within Thunder Bay annually
• Enhanced North Core Parkade revenue estimated at $91,800 - $129,600 annually
• Economic diversification and revitalization of the downtown core and waterfront district

Q/ Why have an architect and builder as part of the proponent team?
 Thunder Bay LIVE! is very experienced at developing successful facilities around the world. Having an architectural firm and builder as part of the consortium helps to finalize the project design, costing and final business plan.

Q/ What are the next steps?
 City Administration will report to Council on the status of the Event Centre project, including the Letter of Intent, for approval prior to April 14.

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Contact:      Mayor Keith Hobbs, 625-3601
                   Michael Smith, 684-2774 
                   Gary Green, Thunder Bay LIVE, 954-818-2284