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A Moncton investor is buying buildings near the proposed downtown sports and entertainment centre. (Moncton)

A Moncton developer says he's buying land and building in anticipation of the city's future downtown centre.

Earlier this year, Thierry Le Bouthillier bought and renovated an office building on St. George Street, located four to five blocks from the proposed $107-million downtown centre.

According to plans unveiled by the City of Moncton last month, the complex would include an entertainment and sports venue, convention and shopping centres, condominiums, restaurants and outdoor spaces. However, funding has not yet been secured for the centre.

Le Bouthillier said he's investing in the area now to avoid higher prices when the centre opens in 2017.

"We're basing our studies and our investments on the future of the convention centre and we're preparing ourselves for the next five years. We're hoping by 2020 … it will be up and running," said Le Bouthillier.

Land values have already gone up in the neighbourhood, a part of town which has a reputation for being a bit run down, said Le Bouthillier.

He said he's now collecting twice the rent from the St. George building.

He has also bought more land next door to build a four-storey condominium complex that will include retail stores, cafés and professional offices.

"A development four to five blocks away from a convention centre is actually right in the epicentre of the activity. So, for us, thinking about the future, if this convention centre can be built in the next four years, the four blocks away will be prime real estate at that point," he said.