With the tag line “Where Nova Scotia Connects,” a sign on Argyle Street in downtown Halifax proclaims the future site of a development that will include a convention centre that’s been the focus of a long debate in the city.
Developer Joe Ramia addressed reporters Thursday morning to reveal details of the development to be known as Nova Centre. MP Peter MacKay, Premier Darrell Dexter and Mayor Peter Kelly were on hand for the announcement.
The project is estimated to cost $500-million. Excavation is set to start at the end of August and take a few weeks to complete. Construction will begin in Spring 2013. Ramia anticipates the official opening of Nova Centre at the end of 2015.
“I am very pleased to be working alongside all the project partners, and to be taking an important next step with them today towards making this idea a reality,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia. “The Nova Centre will be a destination of choice for visitors from around the world, an engine that will drive economic growth and jobs for the people of our province, and a vital part of the local community. The new convention centre will not only reinforce Nova Scotians’ hard-won reputation as welcoming and generous hosts, it will spark growth and opportunity that will be felt here for years to come.”
“The Nova Centre will attract more people to Nova Scotia and connect them with communities across the province. It will create thousands of jobs for Nova Scotia families. And it will revitalize the downtown like no other project in a generation,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “I applaud Mr. Ramia for his foresight in public engagement, and I encourage all Nova Scotians to express their views on how to best benefit from the new Centre, and how its design can express the best of Nova Scotia.”
Rank CEO Ramia said the new convention centre is the first tenant in Nova Centre. Of the total development, he said approximately 290,000 sq. ft. has been leased by the Province for the new convention centre.
“Our vision for Nova Centre is simple,” said Ramia. “Regardless of where people come from, either next door, across the Province or from the furthest corners of the world, Nova Centre will be a welcoming place for Nova Scotians and visitors to connect. It will be a place to work and experience the best of Nova Scotia’s people, innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, local food, entertainment and culture.”
He said Nova Centre will be the largest “green” development in Atlantic Canada, with the objective of achieving Canada Green Building Council’s LEED Gold designation.
Ramia said the initial building designs will continue to evolve to reflect public feedback.
“While core components of the centre are defined as is the size and height of the development, there will be a comprehensive public consultation process to identify what Nova Scotians want to see in this new mixed-use facility in the heart of Halifax, particularly around the public space, streetscape, look and feel of the centre and what the Centre says about Nova Scotians,” said Ramia.
He said Tim Merry, the consultant behind the Halifax Public Library consultation, will lead the consultation process. There will be 11 public sessions in HRM and around the Province to identity what Nova Scotians want to see.
The developers have launched a basic web site to promote the project: NovaCentre.ca. It links to a site intended for future use as a doorway to community and public consultation about the Centre, http://buildyourcentre.ca/.
Mayor Peter Kelly congratulated Mr. Ramia for being bold enough to see the promise and the opportunity Nova Centre holds for our business community, our municipality, and the entire Province; a win-win for everyone. “This is a great investment and the economic spin-offs will help revitalize the urban core.”
Bullet points on what Rank Inc. is saying about the project:
- One million sq. ft mixed-use development that revitalizes the heart of Atlantic Canada’s hub city
- Approx. 289,000 sq. ft of convention space and 18,000 sq. ft. of public space
- International financial centre, convention centre and luxury hotel, residential, retail, parking and public space
- Significant new property tax base for Halifax Regional Municipality and provincial economic benefits
- Create approx. 1,700 person years of employment during construction phases
- LEED Gold certified development
- Public space that reflects the community and features local pride and culture
- A game changing project for Atlantic Canada – further positioning Halifax, Nova Scotia as a Financial Services Centre
- Excavation starts 2012 and anticipated completion December 2015
- Nova Centre building designs are evolving and will be shared after input from a provincial consultation process