WINDSOR, ONT. -- The City of Windsor has decided not to move forward with the expression of interest put forth by the Windsor Arena Revitalization Project.

Led by the Windsor Express, the EOI was shortlisted in late 2019.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and determine what our next steps are as an organization,” says team CEO Dartis Willis. “Where do we play?”

Willis says the project could have been completed in about a year.

“I think the city needs to take a more active role and potentially reconsider how we want to work with this project and how we want to work with the group that came forward,” city councillor Rino Bortolin says.

The barn has been closed since 2014. The City of Windsor once used it as a storage facility. There have been a lot of ideas proposed for the site, but none of them have been embraced.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says city council needed security before giving away the land and building and undertaking some of the repairs.

“If you give away your land and building and they use the value of that to seek a mortgage from a financial institution and they default on the mortgage, all of a sudden the financial institution owns your land and building that you gave away for a dollar,” Dilkens says.

“We were 100 per cent prepared,” he says. “We had financial commitments, naming partner as well as a financial institution that was ready to move forward.”

Dilkens says the letter they received from a financial institution was a promise to review a proposal, that wasn’t’ good enough for the city.

In the meantime, not wanting to sit on an empty heritage building, council has asked for the demolition cost of Windsor Arena.

“We want to take advantage of the good market in front of us and so we’ll find out what it’s going to cost to demolish before we issue another expression of interest,” he says.