The prospect of building a massive downtown arena has taken a giant leap forward with the head of the committee studying the issue voicing his full support for the project.

Lyle Best, chairman of the city’s new arena feasibility committee, told Metro that a recent tour of downtown rinks in the U.S. has won him over.

“I’m convinced that it’s viable, and I’m also convinced that it’s necessary,” he said. “We have to think about the future and taking advantage of things like mass transit and higher density housing and getting people to live in the downtown area.”


The committee was struck in April to study several possibilities, including renovating the 33-year-old Rexall Place or building a new arena and selecting several possible locations.

Best toured downtown facilities in Columbus, Ohio, and Kansas City, Missouri, where he saw rinks built in conjunction with loft apartments, condos, restaurants, and bars.