Memorial University of Newfoundland and the City of Corner Brook have reached an agreement for the lease of the Pepsi Centre.
The agreement is the culmination of eight months of negotiations between city and university officials.
The total property, which includes the Pepsi Centre, Pepsi Studio Annex and adjacent parking areas, will be operated by a local board – a separately incorporated entity (SIE) – comprising representatives from the university, the city and the general public.
“This partnership will be fruitful for all involved,” said Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial. “We look forward to working with the community to ensure the public’s needs, and those of our university community, are met. We have significant experience in operating facilities which serve dual functions.”
The Works, which encompasses the Field House and Aquarena in St. John’s, is an example of a recreational facility that serves both the university and the public. It also operates under an SIE board. The Works functions under policies created by the university’s Board of Regents, with an autonomous board that reflects the interests of stakeholders. The Botanical Garden and the research consortium C-CORE are also managed under the SIE model, as is the Genesis Group, Memorial’s technology transfer arm.
“The City of Corner Brook views this partnership as an excellent opportunity for the entire community,” said Mayor Charles Pender. “It is a win-win situation for both organizations as we both share a common vision for the growth and betterment of the facility and what it can provide to residents of Corner Brook and region. This agreement will see the establishment of a community-based board of directors, with the opportunity for the potential reduction in the city’s subsidy and will see profits from operations reinvested back into the building for the benefit of all parties.”
Memorial University will assume responsibility for operating the facility on May 1, 2006; the five-year lease will be up for renewal on April 30, 2011.
“Now that an agreement has been reached we’re eager to get down to business,” said Dr. John Ashton, principal of Grenfell College. “A transition team will be put in place to help with the shift in operations. The university is now in the process of recruiting a general manager for the facility.”
The official signing of the agreement will take place on March 23, 2006, when the university’s Board of Regents meets in Corner Brook.