St. John's city council has been told that the cost of building a massive expansion to the city's convention centre will be significantly higher than previously thought.

In a memo to council for Monday evening's regular meeting, city engineer Walt Mills recommends that councillors accept the lowest bid for the job of expanding the St. John's Convention Centre, off New Gower Street.

Pomerleau Inc. had bid $52,695,420.52 for the work.

In August 2011, officials outlined a $45-million plan to expand the convention centre, with $15 million each coming from the city, the federal government and the Newfoundland and Labrador government.

The expansion will nearly double the amount of floor space available for trade shows, meetings and conventions.

City Council believes the expansion will allow it to compete for conventions considered too large for the current facility.

Three other companies — Bird Construction, Olympic Construction and Marco Services Ltd. — had higher bids on the project.