The head of Halifax's new convention centre project says he's already booked five conventions for the year the facility is set to open.

Construction of the $160-million building in downtown Halifax is underway and is expected to be completed by January 2016.

Scott Ferguson, the president and CEO of Trade Centre Ltd., appeared before the public accounts committee of the legislature Wednesday morning.  

Ferguson said he's confident about the centre's ability to remain on schedule and had been drumming up business over the past year.  

"I’ve talked a little bit about two of them, the Canada Venture Capital Association — which is responsible for about $88 billion in investments, private equity — will be in Halifax in 2016. At the other end of the spectrum Canada's Cooperative Housing Federation … and the Canadian Librarian Association, and two other medical conferences," he said.

The province's auditor general is skeptical of the market projection and last fall recommended the province get another independent assessment.  

The government refused, saying it was comfortable with the studies that had already been done.

Despite concerns from the auditor general, Ferguson is convinced the new facility in Halifax will attract more national and international business.  

"We are a centre of excellence for a number of sectors, including defence, aerospace, life sciences and oceans — just to name a few," he said.