Repair bill for Calgary's municipal building on the rise

A council committee heard today that one of the most recognized downtown buildings needs $130 million in repairs.

Building that houses city council 'will continue to deteriorate without the money'

The city says Calgary's City Hall, also known as the municipal or blue building, is in need of some major repairs over the next 10 years. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

A council committee heard today that one of the most recognized downtown buildings needs $130 million in repairs. 

That is up from an earlier estimate that $80 million was needed to keep the 29-year-old building in good shape.

A plaque on the municipal building shows it opened Oct. 18, 1985. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

"The blue building is one of our most critical assets and it's the one that's in the poorest condition that we have today," said Darrel Bell, the city's acting director of corporate properties.

He says a decision on repairs is needed soon.

"We have invested significantly over the last three years on roofs and electrical distribution systems, the base building systems that you don't see," said Bell.

"It is coming almost to the end of its life and it will continue to deteriorate without the money. In our request, we don't believe there's enough capital envelope there to do the work we need to do so we will see a slow deterioration of the building unless we invest in it pretty soon."

Mayor Naheed Nenshi refers to the atrium of the municipal building as 'Calgary's living room.' (CBC)

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra calls the big bill a dilemma for city council.

"It comes down to the political question of whether the city's elected representatives are going to take taxpayer dollars to seemingly feather the nest, in which we spend our day," he said. "So tough, tough call." 

Carra says with a new downtown library rising soon behind City Hall, it's time to figure out how to open up the building — which currently cuts off the East Village from the rest of downtown.

Costs over 10 years

  • Exterior windows: $3.3 million
  • Roof replacement: $2.2 million
  • Skylights: $7.7 million
  • Interior fixtures and fittings: $15.5 million
  • Plumbing: $5.5 million
  • Chillers: $7.2 million
  • HVAC distribution and controls: $47.5 million
  • Fire protection/sprinklers: $7 million
  • Electrical distribution: $22 million
  • Elevators and escalators: $1.1 million
  • Miscellaneous life cycle upgrades: $11 million

Total: $130 million


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