Takeover bids for Copps Coliseum, Hamilton Place and convention centre
Six wildly different companies have thrown their hats into the ring to run Hamilton Place, the Convention Centre, and Copps Coliseum.
The city has released the results of the request for proposals it issued last year for the three facilities, currently operated by Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc. (HECFI).
Three of the bidders – AEG/Katz Group, Global Spectrum/Live Nation, and SMG/Form Equity
– are large North American firms that have proposed running all three HECFI facilities.
The remaining three bidders are smaller local companies. Carmen’s banquet centre owners Peter Mercanti, P.J. Mercanti along with Festival of Friends director Loren Leiberman have submitted a proposal to run the Convention Centre. Vrancor, the company owned by high-profile downtown developer Darko Vranich, has also submitted a proposal for operating the Convention Centre.
Local record label Sonic Unyon has submitted a proposal to run Hamilton Place.
All of the bidders are under strict instructions not to discuss the proposals with the media. During the RFP process, the city has forbidden any contact between bidders and councillors, city staff and HECFI employees.
The request for proposals process was kick-started after HECFI’s disastrous financial performance in 2010, when the agency required an $11.65-million cash injection from the city. That subsidy, in combination with a damning independent review, led to the city's decision to dissolve the HECFI board, fire CEO Duncan Gillespie, and form a committee of councillors to oversee HECFI operations.
The call for proposals allowed private companies to bid on any combination of the city’s venues, whether it was all three or only one. It also allowed bidders the freedom to propose to buy the facilities or manage them.
Councillors will receive a presentation about the bids at Wednesday’s General Issues Committee meeting. However, they won’t be asked to make a decision about HECFI’s future until March 21.