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Production company comes forward to try Hollywood ending to Coliseum demolition

Global News logo Global News 2018-03-26 Scott Johnston
A production company is looking to buy the Coliseum, but the move may conflict with the city's agreement with the OEG. © Vinesh Pratap, Global News A production company is looking to buy the Coliseum, but the move may conflict with the city's agreement with the OEG.

City council's 7-6 vote to put the Coliseum on the verge of demolition has prompted an anonymous production company to step out of the shadows and identify itself.

King Bridge Studios wants to repurpose the Coliseum, a building the president of partner company King Motion Picture Corporation values at $100,000,000.

"There are no tax dollars involved," said Doug Hutton. "We're not asking for a nickel from any of the city departments. We're not looking for any federal or provincial money, we just want to do this as a private enterprise initiative."

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Hutton is coy about what his next step will be, besides lobbying the administration, something that goes back to July of last year. He said they're also looking at a large parcel of land outside of the city for shoots, but the Coliseum would be used as a sound stage.

A media release names Charley Pride, Roberta Flack, Roy Clark and Tina Turner as previous productions.

"We've done a lot of concerts," Hutton said in a phone interview. "About 25 with the Edmonton Symphony and other groups. There is a world market for great music and I thought that that would be the first stage."

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Which is the nub of the problem. The agreement the city has with the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) spells out no competing sports, or entertainment. Hutton said they are willing to go so far as to hook up with the federal competition bureau to ensure the OEG can't force the Coliseum out of existence.

"It'll be a controversial area because why would you want to close a building that's as useful as the Coliseum in order to protect another facility that doesn't have any interest in ownership of that building?"

Hutton has been in contact with the ward councillor, Tony Caterina on the project.

"I hope that, once all of council and administration sees this, we reconsider the signing of the elimination of the sponsorship agreement," Caterina said. "At least until May 31."

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That's the date Hutton asked for to get all of the financial ducks in a row.

"We're talking $100,000,000 investment for the first year. We have that committed from our partners in Toronto and the U.K. in London, and we're just waiting for confirmation on the funds," he explained. "That's the one caveat I will put on this, is that the funds are not confirmed yet and it is subject to financing, which looks imminent."

However, late Monday afternoon, a spokesman from the city managers office confirmed that Linda Cochrane signed the termination agreement on the sponsorship deal with the OEG, making Caterina's and King Bridge's effort a definite Hail Mary.

Council has not yet asked for a budget submission to find out the cost of tearing down the Coliseum. On Friday, Councillor Michael Walters suspected it could happen with in the next two weeks.

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