Arts Court development closer to construction

After years of discussion and some setbacks, the new Arts Court development is clearing one of its last hurdles before becoming a reality.

The finance and economic committee approved the winning bidder at its meeting on Tuesday to construct the project. The consortium of EBC Inc., DevMcGill and Groupe Germain were awarded the contract after a competitive process.

The site, near the Rideau Centre, will include a screening room, theatre and four classrooms for the University of Ottawa, plus an expanded Ottawa Arts Gallery. The city is contributing $34 million, in addition to $7 million from the university and $2.5 million to be fundraised by the Ottawa Art Gallery.

The private sector is also getting involved, to the tune of $60 million. The project will also include a 12-storey hotel with an additional 8-storeys of condo units on top, plus underground parking.

Mayor Jim Watson said it's a good fit.

"We need more hotel space in the downtown core, particularly walkable hotel space because when a big convention comes to Ottawa, they don't want to be scattered in ten or 12 hotels that they have to start booking shuttles and so on."

Construction is expected to start by the end of the year and it's expected to be completed in 2017.

Final approval is still required by full city council later this month.

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