Carmen's offers to take control over city's entertainment facilities

News Feb 15, 2018 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Some Hamilton councillors are interested in seeing how the city can take advantage of its entertainment properties.

The Carmen’s Group sent a letter to city council offering to take over FirstOntario Place, FirstOntario Concert Hall and the Hamilton Convention Centre, while also investing considerable funds into the facilities, and providing tax savings for residents.

“We feel we could provide continued value to the city,” P.J. Mercanti, chief executive officer, told the Hamilton Mountain News recently. “And also start the conversation about what the next generation looks like for those facilities.”

Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, who has expressed his desire to unload the entertainment facilities, said the Carmen’s Group plan is an opportunity to examine the future of the arena and convention centre. He said the entire entertainment precinct has the potential to earn needed revenue for the city.

“Don’t come to us for money, we don’t have it,” said Merulla during the Feb. 14 council meeting. “What we do have is regulatory authority and we have the land and that is three-quarters. The other quarter (developers) will have to come up with the money. It will not cost us one cent.

“Let’s maximize our assessment. Let’s get out of the entertainment business,” he said.

Merulla had introduced a motion, approved by council that directed staff to investigate possibilities to redevelop Hamilton’s entertainment venues including partnering with the private sector or event selling off the facilities. The venues are in need of millions of dollars in repairs.

The Carmen’s Group letter, said Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead, is an opportunity for city officials to engage in a discussion about the future of the area and how to optimize the facilities.

“We need to be bold,” said Whitehead.

Since 2013 when the Carmen’s Group took over managing the Hamilton Convention Centre, Mercanti stated the taxpayer subsidy for the facility has been dramatically reduced and the contract with the city has saved about $6 million.

The Carmen’s Group has partnered with Scott Warren, former general manager of FirstOntario Centre to create a consortium to operate the facilities. The consortium includes billionaire Ron Joyce, FirstOntario Credit Union, LiUNA and Fengate Capital, which also helped to pay $240,000 for the FirstOntario Centre study that proposes a $68-million renovation, or a $250-million complete redevelopment.

Spectra Venue Management operates FirstOntario Centre and FirstOntario Concert Hall. The contract expires at the end of 2018.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, though, has heard about ideas to redevelop the entertainment facilities before. What he wants is to see a hard fast commitment that will mean eliminating subsidies to developers and a maximum return on investment to the city.

Councillors referred the letter to the city manager for review.

Hamilton council give positive reviews for Carmen’s Group’s offer for entertainment facilities

Carmen's Group proposal is finding some favour

News Feb 15, 2018 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Some Hamilton councillors are interested in seeing how the city can take advantage of its entertainment properties.

The Carmen’s Group sent a letter to city council offering to take over FirstOntario Place, FirstOntario Concert Hall and the Hamilton Convention Centre, while also investing considerable funds into the facilities, and providing tax savings for residents.

“We feel we could provide continued value to the city,” P.J. Mercanti, chief executive officer, told the Hamilton Mountain News recently. “And also start the conversation about what the next generation looks like for those facilities.”

Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, who has expressed his desire to unload the entertainment facilities, said the Carmen’s Group plan is an opportunity to examine the future of the arena and convention centre. He said the entire entertainment precinct has the potential to earn needed revenue for the city.

“We need to be bold.” — Coun. Terry Whitehead.

“Don’t come to us for money, we don’t have it,” said Merulla during the Feb. 14 council meeting. “What we do have is regulatory authority and we have the land and that is three-quarters. The other quarter (developers) will have to come up with the money. It will not cost us one cent.

“Let’s maximize our assessment. Let’s get out of the entertainment business,” he said.

Merulla had introduced a motion, approved by council that directed staff to investigate possibilities to redevelop Hamilton’s entertainment venues including partnering with the private sector or event selling off the facilities. The venues are in need of millions of dollars in repairs.

The Carmen’s Group letter, said Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead, is an opportunity for city officials to engage in a discussion about the future of the area and how to optimize the facilities.

“We need to be bold,” said Whitehead.

Since 2013 when the Carmen’s Group took over managing the Hamilton Convention Centre, Mercanti stated the taxpayer subsidy for the facility has been dramatically reduced and the contract with the city has saved about $6 million.

The Carmen’s Group has partnered with Scott Warren, former general manager of FirstOntario Centre to create a consortium to operate the facilities. The consortium includes billionaire Ron Joyce, FirstOntario Credit Union, LiUNA and Fengate Capital, which also helped to pay $240,000 for the FirstOntario Centre study that proposes a $68-million renovation, or a $250-million complete redevelopment.

Spectra Venue Management operates FirstOntario Centre and FirstOntario Concert Hall. The contract expires at the end of 2018.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, though, has heard about ideas to redevelop the entertainment facilities before. What he wants is to see a hard fast commitment that will mean eliminating subsidies to developers and a maximum return on investment to the city.

Councillors referred the letter to the city manager for review.

Hamilton council give positive reviews for Carmen’s Group’s offer for entertainment facilities

Carmen's Group proposal is finding some favour

News Feb 15, 2018 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Some Hamilton councillors are interested in seeing how the city can take advantage of its entertainment properties.

The Carmen’s Group sent a letter to city council offering to take over FirstOntario Place, FirstOntario Concert Hall and the Hamilton Convention Centre, while also investing considerable funds into the facilities, and providing tax savings for residents.

“We feel we could provide continued value to the city,” P.J. Mercanti, chief executive officer, told the Hamilton Mountain News recently. “And also start the conversation about what the next generation looks like for those facilities.”

Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, who has expressed his desire to unload the entertainment facilities, said the Carmen’s Group plan is an opportunity to examine the future of the arena and convention centre. He said the entire entertainment precinct has the potential to earn needed revenue for the city.

“We need to be bold.” — Coun. Terry Whitehead.

“Don’t come to us for money, we don’t have it,” said Merulla during the Feb. 14 council meeting. “What we do have is regulatory authority and we have the land and that is three-quarters. The other quarter (developers) will have to come up with the money. It will not cost us one cent.

“Let’s maximize our assessment. Let’s get out of the entertainment business,” he said.

Merulla had introduced a motion, approved by council that directed staff to investigate possibilities to redevelop Hamilton’s entertainment venues including partnering with the private sector or event selling off the facilities. The venues are in need of millions of dollars in repairs.

The Carmen’s Group letter, said Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead, is an opportunity for city officials to engage in a discussion about the future of the area and how to optimize the facilities.

“We need to be bold,” said Whitehead.

Since 2013 when the Carmen’s Group took over managing the Hamilton Convention Centre, Mercanti stated the taxpayer subsidy for the facility has been dramatically reduced and the contract with the city has saved about $6 million.

The Carmen’s Group has partnered with Scott Warren, former general manager of FirstOntario Centre to create a consortium to operate the facilities. The consortium includes billionaire Ron Joyce, FirstOntario Credit Union, LiUNA and Fengate Capital, which also helped to pay $240,000 for the FirstOntario Centre study that proposes a $68-million renovation, or a $250-million complete redevelopment.

Spectra Venue Management operates FirstOntario Centre and FirstOntario Concert Hall. The contract expires at the end of 2018.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green, though, has heard about ideas to redevelop the entertainment facilities before. What he wants is to see a hard fast commitment that will mean eliminating subsidies to developers and a maximum return on investment to the city.

Councillors referred the letter to the city manager for review.