Royal Alberta Museum to be built in downtown Edmonton

The province has announced plans to build a new home for the Royal Alberta Museum in downtown Edmonton.

The province announced plans Thursday to build a new $340 million home for the Royal Alberta Museum in downtown Edmonton.

The museum will be moved from its current location near Government House in Glenora to a site at 103A Avenue and 99th Street.

Construction will start this year with completion scheduled for 2015.

"The aspirations of the city to revitalize its downtown, complete [the] arts district, meshed with the province's need for a new home for the Royal Alberta Museum," Premier Ed Stelmach said in a news conference at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton.

"Just as the great urban centres around the world are known for their great museums, known for their cultural facilities, so too, will this great city and this great province will have a truly world-class museum."

The project will have space to display both the human and natural history artifacts under one roof.

The federal government has committed $30 million to the project.

An additional $180 million was set aside in this year's provincial budget to cover the first three years of the project.

Stelmach said the museum land could be the future home of the Edmonton terminal for a high-speed rail line to Calgary. Land for a Calgary station was purchased in 2007.

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel praised Stelmach for his vision and said the museum will be part of the premier's legacy. He expressed hope that the project will rejuvenate that part of downtown Edmonton.

"I really deeply believe that this particular structure will give a new birth to an area of our city that's had challenges," Mandel said.

The province scrapped plans four years ago to redevelop the existing museum partly because it was determined it would be too impractical to build an addition at the current site.

The government plans to continue using the current site of the Royal Alberta Museum for Government House and a new residence for the Lieutenant Governor.