Dean MacDonald unveils $25M makeover for Mile One — if he buys it

mile one renovations
This artist’s rendering reveals the brand new Mile One that Dean MacDonald is imagining. He says renovations so as to add theatres, a recording studio, e-sports enviornment and two-storey sports activities bar will value about $25 million. (Submitted by Dean MacDonald)

St. John’s businessman Dean MacDonald says he needs to purchase Mile One Centre and provides the stadium a $25-million makeover. 

MacDonald, proprietor of Deacon Sports and Entertainment and the Newfoundland Growlers — who play at Mile One — says he needs so as to add two theatres, an e-sports enviornment and a recording studio. He enhance the dimensions and availability of concessions, and construct a two-story sports activities bar.

“We wish to make a considerable funding within the constructing to make it work for what it’s meant objective and use was, as a result of it’s usually closed on a regular basis,” mentioned MacDonald on the steps of Mile One on Thursday. 

MacDonald mentioned Mile One is an financial burden on town as a result of taxpayer money is used to subsidize it. 

The metropolis sponsored St. John’s Sports and Entertainment, which consists of Mile One and the Convention Centre, by $3.four million in 2019 alone.

MacDonald would not say how a lot he’d pay for the stadium. 

new mile one
The City of St. John’s is not ruling out privatization. Coun. Jamie Korab, chair of St. John’s Sports and Entertainment, says they’ve employed a advisor to supply recommendation about promoting Mile One. (Submitted by Dean MacDonald)

“It must be truthful to taxpayers,” he mentioned. “We’re not seeking to get it for nothing.”

But MacDonald says’s he rising annoyed with town as a result of he’s been making an attempt to get a gathering to speak about hanging a deal since March. 

“The metropolis cannot spend 1.Three million bucks on plowing the sidewalk. And we’re saying, ‘Hey, look, we will prevent three million,’ and that dialog is not occurring,” he mentioned. “That’s a dereliction of responsibility, fairly frankly.” 

MacDonald says he can make the sector worthwhile.

“We additionally really feel that we are able to handle it in a extra environment friendly style than it has been managed,” he mentioned. “You cannot get a beer within the stands. You know, it takes you over 20 minutes to get meals on the concessions.”

Not ruling it out

Coun. Jamie Korab, chair of St. John’s Sports and Entertainment, says metropolis council is not ruling out privatizing Mile One. 

“The public has made it fairly clear that that is one thing they need us to think about,” mentioned Korab. 

He mentioned town wants a good course of to resolve if privatization is the best transfer, since Mile One was constructed and is operated with taxpayer money.

Korab mentioned there ought to be a bidding course of, corresponding to a request for proposals, in case multiple celebration is , and public session.

MacDonald agrees. 

“We’ve mentioned from Day 1 it ought to be an RFP course of. That’s the best factor for the general public,” he mentioned.

Korab mentioned town has employed consultants KPMG, which accomplished a report final yr about having a 3rd celebration handle Mile One, to take a look at the problem, which he mentioned ought to take a couple of month. 

“We’ve reached out to them to shortly put collectively some suggestions and a few recommendation on if we have been to denationalise Mile One, what that might appear to be,” he mentioned. 

He says they have not but met with MacDonald, or any potential bidder, in an effort to guarantee a good course of.

Korab additionally disagrees with MacDonald’s opinion that Mile One is poorly run.

dean macdonald
With Mile One empty because the pandemic hit Newfoundland and Labrador hit Newfoundland and Labrador in March, MacDonald says there’s no higher time to purchase and renovate the constructing. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

“We’re proud of how the constructing is being run. Our workers are doing a fantastic job over there,” he mentioned.

“We function Mile One and the Convention Centre at a low threat as a result of we’re utilizing taxpayers’ money, so we won’t exit and bid on an enormous live performance and threat taxpayers’ {dollars}.”

Korab mentioned Mile One gives an financial profit, corresponding to a $10 million financial impression from its internet hosting of the 2017 Brier.

“These buildings aren’t constructed to make money,” he mentioned. “So if we are able to preserve the working grant or the subsidy at a low stage, it’s a profit to all of the residents, guests and companies right here in St. John’s.”

While it’s nonetheless too early to say what a possible deal could appear to be, MacDonald mentioned if he and town cannot come to an settlement, the Growlers could should play elsewhere.

“If we won’t get satisfaction, we have now two different locations the place we have now franchises. So, , possibly that is the choice,” MacDonald mentioned. 

With Mile One empty — no hockey, basketball or live shows — because the pandemic hit Newfoundland and Labrador in March, MacDonald says there is not any higher time to purchase and renovate the constructing.

“What higher time to do it when there’s nothing occurring right here?” he mentioned.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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