Calgary

Arts Commons expansion project moves ahead to design process

The plan to expand and renovate Arts Commons is moving a step closer to reality with an agreement to start the process of choosing a team to design the $400-million project.

City of Calgary, Arts Commons and CMLC agree to development partnership

Arts Commons is planning for a multi-phase expansion and renovation that would see the downtown Calgary arts hub completely transformed. This rendering shows what the facility could look like in the future. (Arts Commons)

The plan to expand and renovate Arts Commons is moving a step closer to reality with an agreement to start the process of choosing a team to design the $400-million project.

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) will act as the development manager in a partnership with the city and Arts Commons.

"With the freshly signed agreement in place, the first step in the design process will be a competitive procurement process to assemble the design team who will be responsible for the design development over the next two years," CMLC said in a release Friday.

Phase 1 of the project will involve building a $240-million facility at the west end of Olympic Plaza that will feature a 1,200-seat theatre, two smaller theatres, rehearsal space and an elevated corridor that will connect it to the existing building across Eighth Avenue.

Construction is expected to start in 2024.

Phase 2 will start once the first phase is complete and involves the revitalization of the existing Arts Commons space.

The project is known as Arts Commons Transformation (ACT).

"Today's milestone announcement promises a strong contribution to the economic recovery of our great city, a significant long-term investment in our arts community, and the financial sustainability of the artists and companies that call Arts Commons home," said Arts Commons president Alex Sarian.

"As we begin to recover from the loss of live performance, ACT will provide a beacon of hope for the creative future of Calgary: a state-of-the-art home that will attract world-class artists, community partners and arts lovers from near and far," he said.

In March, the city said it had so far secured $160 million of the $240 million required for the project's initial phase. 

As the design process now moves ahead, Arts Commons said it will continue to actively pursue the remaining funding.

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