Former home of the Toronto Argonauts, Rogers Centre to be demolished: report

Screegrab courtesy: CFTV Stadiums

The former home of the Toronto Argonauts could be hit with a wrecking ball in the future.

Screegrab courtesy: CFTV Stadiums

According to Globe and Mail reporter Andrew Willis: Rogers Communications Inc., owner of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays, and the real estate arm of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. want to demolish the Rogers Centre and construct a new stadium as part of a downtown Toronto redevelopment, according to multiple sources involved in the project.

The Rogers Centre, with its retractable roof, opened in 1989 as SkyDome and cost $570-million, with taxpayers picking up a significant portion of the cost. Its domed roof has become an icon of the city’s skyline. Rogers acquired the stadium in 2004 for $25-million.

The multibillion-dollar renovation would be privately funded by Brookfield and Rogers, according to the sources, but needs numerous government approvals to move forward. While Rogers owns the stadium, the federal government owns the land.

Rebuilding the stadium is expected to play out over five to eight years.

Sportsnet reporter Shi Davidi adds: Tons of regulatory hurdles to clear for this, primary among them is that Rogers owns the building only, not the land, which is leased from Canada Lands Company through 2088. It is zoned for stadium usage only.

Some background from the summer of 2018 on the wider trend of sports-anchored developments, the Blue Jays thinking at the time and various zoning of the lands around the building.

The Argos played at what was originally known as SkyDome starting in 1989 until the Double Blue moved to BMO Field in 2016. The Argos played 27 seasons at Rogers Centre, which had a capacity exceeding 52,000 for football.

The Argos have a 10,000 square-foot locker room under the east stands at BMO. Owners MLSE contributed half of the $20 million needed to configure BMO Field to CFL dimensions and paid for the dressing room separately.