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FirstOntario redevelopment begins, hopes to be ‘relief valve’ for entertainers touring GTA (Global News)

Hamilton politicians, city staff and other stakeholders in the FirstOntario Centre redevelopment gathered on York Boulevard for an official groundbreaking ceremony.

With shiny hard hats and sledgehammers on hand, the first pieces of the old arena were dismantled, launching the $280-million private sector renovation of the 39-year-old facility.

Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) president PJ Mercanti told Global News that the real work is not far behind and that his group is still banking on completion in the fall of 2025 with a November opening date.

“This is a strategic inflection point for the city of Hamilton and for this project,” Mercanti said.

“We’ve been working hard with the city, with Oak View Group (OVG) and Live Nation to get everything to this point and we’re delighted that the next chapter literally started today.”

Once finished, the arena will be able to host 18,000 visitors and more than 125 events every year.

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