News / Halifax

No hotel, no problem? Halifax Convention Centre operators not worried hotel hasn't been finalized

After years of delays, the Halifax Convention Centre is set to open in December and will start hosting events in the spring -- but guests will stay elsewhere.

The Nova Centre, a mixed-use commercial development under construction in downtown Halifax, is seen on Monday, May 15, 2017. The project, which features a hotel tower, two office towers, the new Halifax Convention Centre, retail space and a public pedestrian arcade.

Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

The Nova Centre, a mixed-use commercial development under construction in downtown Halifax, is seen on Monday, May 15, 2017. The project, which features a hotel tower, two office towers, the new Halifax Convention Centre, retail space and a public pedestrian arcade.

When nearly 30,000 guests come to the Halifax Convention Centre in 2018, they won’t be staying at the hotel in the Nova Centre.

After years of delays and cancelled conventions, the Convention Centre is set to open in December – though the exact date hasn’t been nailed down – and it will start hosting events in the spring.

The Nova Centre has announced office tenants and the Rogers Plaza (the street formerly known as Grafton), but there’s been no announcement regarding a hotel operator for the tower at the corner of Market and Prince streets.

The operators of the Convention Centre have their guests making other plans.

“For the guests that are here that are joining us in 2018, they’ve made alternative lodging arrangements in our lovely hotel products that we currently have (in the city),” Carrie Cussons, president and CEO of Events East, formerly known as Trade Centre Ltd., told reporters after an announcement on Thursday.

“When it opens, which we’re hoping will be sometime in 2018, that will be another opportunity or option for those guests to choose.”

Notably absent from Thursday’s announcement was Nova Centre developer Joe Ramia. Cussons deferred any questions about when a hotel operator may be announced to Ramia and his company, Argyle Developments. In September, Ramia told reporters the hotel operator would be announced in a few weeks, but there’s been no announcement yet.

Cussons said she’s not concerned about not having a hotel for the coming season, when the facility will host 30 conventions, including the national Liberal and Conservative conventions and the Canadian Brewing Awards.

“Halifax is a very walkable city,” she said. “And I think most delegates and guests that are coming have no issue with walking down to our beautiful waterfront, or up into the Spring Garden Road area, or through our pedway system that links the Marriott and the Delta and other properties.”

On Thursday, Events East announced a partnership between the Convention Centre and Taste of Nova Scotia to highlight local food and drink in the new space.

The Convention Centre’s culinary team will use and showcase local products and suppliers with the goal of creating business for Nova Scotia companies like River View Herbs, Meadow Brook Farm, and Acadia Maple Products.

“This program will drive international and national guests onto our streets and into local businesses that continue to build our thriving city,” Mayor Mike Savage said during the announcement.

“The Halifax Convention Centre will be highlighting all the wonderful things that Nova Scotia has to offer, and I can’t wait to see what new opportunities they bring to Halifax’s doorstep.”

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