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CMLC launches new info website for Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District

The day after an announcement of a design team for the new Calgary event centre, a portal was launched to build awareness and provide information for the district where it will be an anchor tenant.

On Thursday, The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has opened up the Cultural + Entertainment District website. The intent is to build a single point of entry for Calgarians to understand the area’s master plan and vision.

“Up until now, the only real way that you can kind of get an overview of the (Rivers District) master plan is the master plan itself, which is very heavy,” said Clare LePan, VP of marketing and communications for the CMLC. That information was available through the CMLC’s main website.

“So, the intention of the website and the social channels was to begin to sort of have a better platform to kind of describe what the vision for the district was and where the projects are at.”

LePan said it’s a place where people can find project progress reports, including construction work, area detours and the status of each project in the area.

The Rivers District Master Plan, which encompasses the Cultural and Entertainment District, has the BMO Centre Expansion and the Event Centre as major projects. It’s also the guiding document for the mixed-use residential and commercial development in the area.

The BMO Centre expansion is already underway. Earlier this week, the CMLC announced the designers for the new arena.

The ‘Place Brand’

The CMLC’s website has a lot of the technical details around many of their projects. This new website is meant to provide that information, but also more around the vision for the area.

“This provides a little bit more community context and a little bit more of the vision story of what this is all intended to be,” LePan said.

“We refer to it as the place brand.”

They’ve stuck with the idea of the culture and entertainment district because that’s how it’s been described both in media and in stakeholder discussions for the past several years.

“We didn’t feel that it needed its own name… other than culture and entertainment district,” LePan said.

The new website branding and logo. CMLC

The logo for the new site also has meaning – starting with the colours. The red hues represents all of the major players – the City of Calgary (one of their core colours), the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Flames.

“We wanted to look at a color palette that reflected and was supportive of the other brands that are in the district,” said LePan.

The letters are curved to represent elements of the rivers. The plus sign between the C and E was the notion of bringing people together. It also represents the primary intersection at 12 Avenue and 4 Street SE, which has also long been considered the area’s primary entry point, LePan said.

Bonus! Designs on arena roughly a year out

The designers, including local firm DIALOG, were selected this week to carry out the vision of the new event centre for the Rivers District. Also included is HOK, a design firm behind projects like the Little Caesars Arena and the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“The work these teams have been entrusted to do will contribute significantly to the Culture & Entertainment District and have a lasting impact on our city,” said Stuart Dalgleish, General Manager, planning and development and City of Calgary rep on the Event Centre Steering Committee.

The designers being named is great – but when are designs coming?

LePan said a rough timeline can be extrapolated from the recent BMO expansion project. A little over a year ago, they named the designers for that project. This June, they revealed designs.

“We’re just starting into the concept design stage now that the team is in place for the event center,” she said.

“I would expect  that it would be early 2021 before we’re actually at the point where we have a design far enough along, with all the different planning considerations, cost considerations in place, to where we’d be looking at that publicly.”

One stop shop

There’s a place for engagement, feedback, information – “it should be a place of dialogue,” LePan said. There will be regular project information, including milestones on the construction and development.

“I think the CMLC site is always there always and has to be, it certainly will also have project information,” LePan said.

“This becomes one that is sort of like a one stop shop where people can understand what we’re intending to create here.”

The website is funded through the marketing and communications budget of the CMLC and not the direct arena or BMO project costs.