Three levels of government plan to spend a combined $149 million toward the expansion of the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

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The Winnipeg Convention Centre

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

The Winnipeg Convention Centre

Three levels of government plan to spend a combined $149 million toward the expansion of the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

But what exactly that expansion will look like is still under wraps.

Standing across York Avenue from a provincially owned surface parking lot that will eventually house an etxpanded convention centre, Mayor Sam Katz, Premier Greg Selinger and Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia MP Steven Fletcher confirmed their commitment toward the downtown construction project Monday afternoon.

Convention centre officials pegged the total cost as "over $180 million" but likely less than $200 million, depending on the final design.

Artist renderings will be made public in the coming months, convention centre president and CEO Klaus Lahr said.

The City of Winnipeg will contribute $51 million to the project, using proceeds from the city's accommodation tax. Ottawa is in for $46.7 million and the province is in for $51 million.

The convention centre will raise approximately $17 million and the remainder of the cost would be recouped from new property taxes emanating from the project, Lahr said.

The expansion would see a new 250,000-square-foot addition built on a surface parking lot the provincial government owns on York Avenue, immediately south of the existing 132,000-square-foot facility.

Originally the largest of its kind in Canada, the Winnipeg Convention Centre has been eclipsed in recent decades by facilities in other cities. The addition planned would include 110,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space and would enable the WCC to bid on larger conventions it's now missing out on, president and CEO Lahr has said.

All three levels of government agreed to help fund the expansion late last spring, but the Selinger government could not announce the deal during the runup to the 2011 provincial election.

Last summer, the convention centre also issued an expression-of-interest document to search for a private partner interested in building a hotel as part of the expansion.

The identity of the successful proponent has not been announced.

Selinger, Katz and Lahr would not confirm speculation that a new hotel may rise on the existing site of the Carlton Hotel, north of the convention centre.

The uncertainty surrounding the hotel location may be delaying the final site design, but officials declined to confirm this, calling it speculation.