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City hands over operation of 3 key downtown entertainment facilities for up to 49 years (CBC News)

For the next few decades the City of Hamilton has handed over running the FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall, and the Hamilton Convention Centre — all of which will undergo multi-million dollar renovations.

Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) is behind the $500-million winning proposal, announced in 2020, to renovate downtown entertainment facilities. The details of the master agreement were revealed Wednesday.

Thirty years are guaranteed, said Ray Kessler, city manager of real estate but the contract could run for up to 49 years.

The group — which includes Carmens Group, LiUNA, dpai architects, Meridian Credit Union, Paletta International — takes over operations and maintenance of all three venues on April 1, 2022.

There is no monetary contribution from the city, which also retains ownership of the lands and facilities.

Kessler said “confidential” commercial agreements have been negotiated. He said “high-level numbers” and a “framework” have been provided.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said it was a “momentous day, indeed.”

“Once we’re past the predominance of this pandemic, people will be yearning for entertainment, people will be yearning for new housing opportunities,” he said, calling it a “great opportunity” to bridge economic recovery.

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