Images of a buzzing shopping and entertainment centre, and interested Edmontonians filled the lobby of the Art Gallery of Alberta during an open house to learn about the proposed Edmonton Arena District Thursday.

Televisions and artist renderings displayed the area located between 101 Street and 104 Street where the proposed Arena would be built, and members of the Katz Group were on hand to field questions and comments.

“Today we have been able to share four new images, which capture our current vision for what this project can be, and I think that’s helpful,” said Bob Black, executive vice-president for sports and entertainment for the Katz Group.

“I think it is also helpful for us to have the opportunity to engage the public in a more wholesome discussion about issues such as parking and traffic.”

The Katz Group hopes to have a new arena available for the drop of the puck in September of 2014.

Images of a vibrant entertainment district including live music venues, restaurants, lounges, cafes, retail locations, hotels, a casino, and residential towers certainly impressed many of the people who stopped by to view the proposal.

“Especially if you have been in Edmonton for a long time, you would have grown up with Rexall which was the Coliseum and then Skyreach,” said Kevin Der, who stopped by the open house.

“And now you would have a brand new facility with brand new amenities. I think it really would paint a fresh face on the whole city, because it kind of becomes a new centrepiece for the city.”

There was also some mixed feedback about the possible arena, and many people reported being given flyers, urging them to contact their MLA and say no to the proposal, by someone unhappy with the plans.

“I think that nothing but good things can come of this for the downtown area,” said Margaret Smith, who came to check out the proposed new arena.

“As long as they don’t take away from some of the inner city things that are going on there right now, because I know that there is the Boyle McCauley (Health) Centre is really nearby, and there is a soup kitchen right across the street, so I’m not sure how they are going to deal with that population, or if that is going to be a desirable population that they would want there.”

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