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Spencer//Butcher Group willing to pay millions to revive Windsor arena

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City Coun. Gary Kaschak’s curiosity was piqued when Greg Butcher made public his family’s interest in acquiring Windsor Arena.

“It sort of come up two years ago and then we never heard nothing about it,” Kaschak said during Monday’s council meeting.

In April of 2021, the city decided not to move forward with an expression of interest from the Windsor Arena Revitalization Project led by the Windsor Express.

While Greg Spencer of Spencer//Butcher Group supported that proposal, he has always been interested in returning the building to its glory days.

His family owned the building in the 1940s and 50s

“The Spencer//Butcher Group is committing the necessary investment capital and resources to restore and upgrade this arena at our sole expense,” Spencer told council.

He said the group is also committed to operating the facility, “We would like to participate in any process that would bring that facility to a premiere sporting and entertainment facility, a modern state of the art asset to help revitalize the downtown core.”

Kaschak seemed very interested in the notion.

“You know that the city has recently mentioned Windsor Arena as potentially one of the sites for affordable housing, but are you willing to make a proposal to the city here to maybe do something there?” said Kaschak. “To buy that property from the city and move it forward?”

Spencer said the group submitted an unsolicited proposal to the city about six months ago.

“We can do all the stuff we can do. The proposal that passed (Strengthen the Core plan), those are all good, but if we don't get people downtown to enjoy the amenities and more amenities downtown, we're not going to be further ahead,” said Spencer.

In the proposal, Spencer said he would also like to take over the homelessness and housing help hub, or H4, when it moves and turn it into a community basketball centre.

“If there's a component of housing to what he's doing then I'm all about it. I'm all for it,” said Coun. Renaldo Agostino. “I'm all for anything but I [have to] see concrete proposals and so does the rest of council because that's how these decisions get made.”

There is currently no request for proposal for the site.

“I strongly urge anyone and everyone who's talking about doing developments to really focus in on housing because you can see this is where we're at in 2024,” said Agostino.

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