The city's top bureaucrat is warning councillors that Hamilton can only afford to build a bare-bones, “utilitarian” stadium to host the Pan Am Games.
“It's not going to be a Taj Mahal,” said city manager Chris Murray. “There's a very real need for us to be very practical in the design of the stadium.”
According to new figures presented to council Wednesday, a new stadium will cost about $160 million in 2012 dollars—and the available funding is falling $35-million short of that amount.
That doesn't include the costs of land acquisition and remediation, figures which are not available to the public.
The financial pressures mean Hamilton will likely build a stadium that looks more like Toronto's BMO Field than the Rogers Centre.
Currently, with the $125 million of public funding on the table, it's “within grasp” to build a pared-down 22,000-seat stadium, Murray says.
Previously, the city said it could only build a 15,000-seat stadium with that funding, a venue large enough to host the Games but too small to house the Tiger-Cats. The city is also counting on the province to help pick up some of the extra cost.
Wednesday's financial update shed new light on the stadium's tangled financial negotiations between the city and the Cats. Both sides have been discussing their contributions for months—and as the stadium site has shifted, so have the Cats' promises of funding.