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City opens application process to choose designer, builder and operator for KED

The City of Greater Sudbury has issued design/build and venue operator requests for proposals for the Kingsway Entertainment District arena, which they expect to award sometime this year
KED sign
A billboard located on the eastern end of the Kingsway, advertising the Kingsway Entertainment District. (File)

The Kingsway Entertainment District is inching forward, with the city issuing design/build requests for proposals for both its design/build and venue operator. 

“We certainly are moving ahead,” Mayor Brian Bigger told “This is moving toward the project completion agreement and is based upon the direction of council way back in July 2021.”

The city’s elected officials maintain final say on both tenders, which they are expected to consider this year. The venue operator tender is expected to come forward within the next few weeks and the design/build is expected to be approved early in the year’s third quarter.

The design/build request for proposals includes a list of three teams shortlisted when the project was originally slated to move forward in 2017 – that is, until legal challenges delayed progress. These teams include:

  • Ball/TESC Construction Inc. (Joint Venture)/Architecture 49 Inc.
  • EllisDon Corporation/BBB Architects Toronto Inc., in conjunction with J. L. Richards & Associates Limited
  • PCL Constructors Canada Inc./Parkin Architects Ltd.

All of these proponents are either based in Ontario or have offices in the province. TESC Construction Inc. is based in Sudbury and J. L. Richards & Associates Limited is headquartered in Ottawa but has an office in Sudbury. PCL Constructors is based in Edmonton but also has offices in Sudbury.

As approved in 2017 and reaffirmed during a city council meeting earlier this month, the two unsuccessful design/build teams will each receive an honorarium from the city of $150,000. 

“We expect them to put a whole-hearted, solid effort, and they should be ready to go if their design is selected,” Bigger said, adding that it’s industry standard to offer compensation for losing bids in situations such as this.

“You want a good quality design, and that’s hundreds of thousands of effort by these architectural design firms to put in to bid.”

The full scope of the design/build request for proposals can be found by clicking here, where numerous documents outline the scope of the KED arena project. 

In these documents, it’s stated the design builder is to provide all labour, materials and equipment necessary to design and construct a fully functioning building and site. 

The design life of the building structure is to be 50 years.

In these documents, it’s also stated:

  • Construction of the arena will start in late December of 2022 and is expected to take longer than the private casino being constructed by Gateway Casinos and the hotel being constructed by Genesis Hospitality. All three are expected to open at roughly the same time in 2025.
  • Overall seating of 5,800 will comprise of 5,020 in general seating, 500 in club seating, 40 loge box seating and 240 in private suites dedicated seating.
  • The building must demonstrate 25 per cent energy efficiency improvement above the Ontario Building Code.
  • A series of confidential design meetings will be held between February and May.
  • Design-build submissions will be due on June 9. 

The venue operator component has been shortlisted to include two proponents that have been pre-qualified, including: 

In a media release issued by the city today it’s noted that, “one of these experienced, internationally-connected firms will be selected to provide input in the Event Centre’s final design, maximize revenue, minimize operating costs, increase venue programming, and work toward meeting the City’s goals as outlined in the Community Energy and Emissions (CEEP) Plan.”

The operator will be charged with management, operations, marketing and programming of the 5,800-seat multi-purpose event centre.

It’s anticipated the operator will be approved by city council and in place as early as the second quarter of the year, and Bigger said their insights are expected to help inform the design/build proponents’ work.

With the RFP process underway, Bigger said the KED is pushing forward, with approximately $700,000 budgeted toward the design-build component alone, including the honorariums as well as a compliance team that will have third-party expertise assisting with the procurement process alongside a fairness monitor. 

Although Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier has a motion coming forward to city council next week requesting an Oct. 24 referendum on the KED, Bigger said that not only will the city have made various commitments by that time, but the motion is unlikely to pass. 

The motion would be a reconsideration of a previous direction of city council to proceed with the project, meaning it would require a two-thirds majority of city council to be tabled. A narrow majority of city council members have consistently voted in favour of the project. 

As it stands, and pending city council approvals continue to go in its favour, the KED is poised to be removed as an election issue in advance of the Oct. 24 election date. 

The KED has an approved budget of $100 million, including $90 in debt that has already been secured and $10 million in fundraising. The final results of the request for proposals will determine the total cost, though the most recent updated cost estimate bumped it up to $113.8 million factoring in inflation and cost escalations. Anything greater than $100 million would need to be approved by city council.

Bigger said that he remains confident the total facility construction cost will remain within the city’s original budget of $100 million. He’s also confident a project completion agreement will be signed between the project’s key partners this year, which will put everyone on the same page. 

“Once we have the project completion agreement signed, we’re all moving forward, eyes wide open and committed – it’s locked in and moving forward.”

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for 


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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