News / Halifax

City, province to each pay $2.5 million more for new Halifax convention centre

Developer says more money is needed for technology upgrades.

Work on the new Halifax Convention Centre continues this week.

Jeff Harper/Metro

Work on the new Halifax Convention Centre continues this week.

The price tag on the new Halifax Convention Centre has gone up.

The province announced Wednesday that it had finalized its 25-year agreement with Argyle Developments for the design, construction and lease of the convention centre portion of the Nova Centre -- and the developer needs more money for technology upgrades.

The $10 million upgrades include LED lighting, a card access system, and IT and audio-visual systems.

The developer will handle half of that cost, leaving the province and the municipality to split the other half.

“We are cost sharing that additional $5 million with the province, so it would be an additional $2.5 million from the municipality amortized over that 25 year period,” spokesperson Jennifer Stairs said Wednesday.

The full cost to government of the Nova Centre is now $164.2 million, with the federal government forking over $51.4 million, leaving $112.8 split between the province and the municipality, to be paid over 25 years.

The municipality has to start making those payments on the building’s “substantial completion date,” but as Argyle Developments’ Joe Ramia told Metro on Tuesday, that date, nor the January 2017 opening date, has been finalized.

Regardless, the city won’t pay till it’s done.

“There are certain things that we need to know are in place,” Stairs said. “None of our money will flow before that point.”

The new agreement also triggers the sale of the old World Trade and Convention Centre building, located on Argyle Street across from city hall.

The municipality now has 90 days to tell the province whether it wants to buy that building at its 2012 appraised price of $13.5 million.

Stairs couldn’t say which way the municipality was leaning in terms of the current trade centre building.

“We knew that this was coming, so certainly there’s been conversations around it so we’ll let the province know within that timeline,” Stairs said.