By the end of the year the city’s downtown will begin another significant upgrade with the start of construction on the much-anticipated 340,000-square-foot addition to the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
The $180-million project will be built on the surface parking lot south of the current 492,000-square-foot facility, which will also receive an upgrade to its mechanical systems.
The city and federal and provincial governments are covering up to $148.6 million of the costs, with the remaining funding coming from new incremental property tax revenues from an integrated hotel and commercial development that will be built adjacent to the convention centre.
It is expected that the construction will start before the end of this year, with an anticipated opening before the end of 2015.
The expansion to what was once the largest convention centre in the country will mean a much busier meeting and convention trade in the city.
In the past Winnipeg was unable to even bid on some of the larger conventions because existing facilities were not large enough.
"It’s become evident that the growing list of requirements for large conventions and meetings are getting harder to accommodate," said Klaus Lahr, president and CEO of the WCC. "In the end, there was an overwhelming response by everyone to just get shovels in the ground."
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, said, "This project is fundamental to our ability to showcase our province and city to the world as new attractions near completion and the remarkable transformation of Winnipeg continues."