By Sarah Klein
The Winnipeg Convention Centre will undergo a $180-million expansion to nearly double its size by 2015.
The 340,000-square-foot addition will be built immediately south of the existing 492,000-square-foot facility on a surface parking lot. The present facility will also receive significant structural and electrical upgrades.
The 37-year-old building in downtown Winnipeg is working with Numer TEN Architectural Group and LM Architectural Group on the design phase, while Stuart Olson Dominion Construction has been tapped to handle the build. Stuart Olson is also the chief contractor on Investors Group Field — the future home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“We interviewed meeting and convention leaders, industry partners, customers, general public and internal staff to get their perception of our facility and Winnipeg,” said Klaus Lahr, the Convention Centre’s president and CEO. “We listened to our stakeholders and while the facility has worked in the past, it’s become evident that the growing list of requirements for large conventions and meetings are getting harder to accommodate. In the end, there was an overwhelming response by everyone to just get shovels in the ground.”
To make up for lost parking, 150 new spots will be created in an underground parkade. The facility will be the largest tier two, publicly-owned convention centre in Canada once complete.
Lakeview Management plans to build a seven-storey hotel next door on Edmonton Street. If the demand for rooms is greater once the Centre opens, Lakeview says it will build a second hotel nearby.
The federal government is providing $46-million towards the project, while the province and city each contribute $51 million. The Convention Centre and revenue from the city’s accommodation tax will provide $16-million each.