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MLSE asking government for help with $120M BMO Field expansion

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is preparing to spend big bucks to upgrade BMO field, and it’s asking the government for some help.

A staff report to the city’s executive committee reveals the total cost of the project is about $120 million.

MLSE will cover $90 million and ask the city, province and federal governments to kick in $10 million each.

The city will be paid back over 20 years with interest.

The report also confirms plans to move the Toronto Argonauts to BMO Field after their current contract with the Rogers Centre expires in 2017.

Fueling speculation that MLSE may add the Argos to their portfolio of sports teams, MLSE CEO Tim Lieweke told the Toronto Sun he would like to add a training ground for the Argos next to the TFC’s Kia Training Ground in Downsview Park.

The expansion plans call for the stadium to seat 30,000 for soccer and 25,000 for football, with the ability to expand by 10,000 seats for big events.

The stadium currently seats up to 21,566.

Lieweke also said he wants to see the 2018 Winter Classic game played at a renovated BMO Field in honour of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 100th anniversary.

The proposal goes to executive committee this week and to city council April 1.

Assuming the city’s executive committee and council approve, renovations are scheduled to start Sept. 1.

The first phase of construction will add club seats and suites. It would end next May.

A second phase will start September 2015 and end May 2016.

TFC will not have to move to a temporary home during the renovations.