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Artist's conception of convention centre on Charlottetown waterfront. ((CBC))

A long-anticipated convention centre for Charlottetown was announced Tuesday.

The 36,000 square-foot complex will be built to hold receptions for up to 3,000 people and dining events for up to 1,500 people.

Gail Shea, the federal minister responsible for P.E.I., and Premier Robert Ghiz were on hand for the announcement. It is estimated that the convention centre will cost approximately $17.5 million to complete. That will be cost-shared by the federal and provincial governments.

The centre will be built on the waterfront near the Delta Prince Edward hotel, on a site now occupied by the Canadian Coast Guard. The coast guard will move to another location in the Charlottetown area.

In a news release, government officials say the centre will double P.E.I.'s capacity for hosting meetings and described it as the next step in the Island's investment in tourism infrastructure.

"The anticipated investment in the P.E.I. Convention Centre will increase meetings and convention business by close to 30 per cent over five years," said Ghiz.

"Once it is fully operational, the new Centre will add a further $6.5 million in annual tourism business to the provincial economy."

The facility will be physically connected to the Delta Prince Edward, and will be managed by the hotel, subject to an operating agreement that is being finalized.

Final funding arrangements are still being negotiated. If the development progresses as anticipated, the new facility will be hosting conventions in the fall of 2012.