News / Edmonton

Edmonton Galleria has city deal, but provincial support not there

Downtown arts centre idea needs provincial support to move project forward, even with city deal.

The proposed Galleria project would have four theatres as well as a new home for several U of A departments.

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The proposed Galleria project would have four theatres as well as a new home for several U of A departments.

Edmonton’s proposed Galleria project now has a deal in writing with the City of Edmonton, but support from the provincial government seems much less likely.

On Thursday, the foundation backing the Galleria signed a memorandum of understanding with the city detailing who will pay for what if the project is built.

The memorandum explains the city will contribute $58.3 million toward the Galleria — $42.5 million for land, $8.3 million for transferring the Edmonton Reuse Centre and closing a road, and up to $7.5 million for the $30 million pedway connection to the LRT.

Central to the idea’s success is a plan to move several faculties from the University of Alberta downtown into the new complex, which the province would have to agree to support.

Newly appointed minister Marlin Schmidt said the Galleria is not a top priority.

“We need to be conscious of the current economic reality and focus on the pressing needs of institutions province-wide," said Schmidt. “When it comes to the government's priorities for capital spending this year, the Galleria project isn't on our list."

Galleria foundation spokesperson Godfrey Huybregts said having the city officially sign onto the project is important for attracting other funders.

“One of the things certainly for other people that we’re approaching for funding, is to have absolute confidence the city is 100 per cent behind us and this written agreement provides that,” he said. 

Huybregts said the University of Alberta could best answer whether the complex is a “pressing” need, but believes the schools wants to see the project take place.

“I know they have indicated that it’s a top capital priority for them.”