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Committee hears plans for proposed downtown arts centre
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 1:48PM MST
Last Updated Monday, February 25, 2013 6:28PM MST
A city committee had another look at the plans in development for a proposed downtown arts centre – a project that’s grown since it was first pitched to the city nearly one year ago.
The Edmonton Downtown Academic and Cultural Centre (E-DACC) brought forward their updated plans to the city’s Executive Committee Monday.
The planned concept would be built north of 104 Avenue, across from City Hall and between the EPCOR tower, and the new Royal Alberta Museum.
The project would include four theatres and performance spaces, a covered ‘Galleria’, commercial and retail development, and an office tower – in addition to a University of Alberta downtown arts campus.
E-DACC said in Monday’s meeting that the foundation is prepared to put forward $50 million for the project – and proposed a P4 funding model: a Philanthropic, Public, Private Partnership.
The foundation said it already has more than 60 percent of that sum ready to go, however, aside from those details on finances for the project; little more information on money was outlined.
“At the right time, it’s a key detail,” Jim Brown with E-DACC said at Monday’s committee meeting. “It’s a critical detail but this is not the right time, we’re just talking about the vision at present.”
According to the foundation, it’s expected the project would attract up to 10,000 people to the area each day.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the President of the University of Alberta said it was seriously looking at getting involved in the project – planning to rent space in the new centre for its music, art and design faculties.
“Our campus is absolutely full,” Indira Samarasekera said. “We have no space on our campus to build any significant new buildings, and so this makes a lot of sense for us.”
The foundation said the P4 model means any debt would fall on E-DACC, not on the city or province – and any cash E-DACC gains from the tower, will be re-invested back into the project.
It’s hoped that if the project is given the green light, it’s hoped the centre would open in 2017.
The project will be back before the Executive Committee to update the city on its business case on April 24.
With files from Jeff Harrington
An artists' rendering shows the proposed Edmonton Downtown Academic and Cultural Centre, which would be built just north of City Hall. Supplied.