Province finalizes lease for Halifax Convention Centre
Nova Scotia's goal is to have about 80,000 people attend conventions at the site annually
The ink is finally dry on the provincial government's lease for the new Halifax Convention Centre.
The 25-year lease will see fixed annual payments of $10.76 million, split evenly between the province and Halifax Regional Municipality, flowing to Argyle Developments.
The federal government's share of the $169.2-million project — $51.4 million — was paid in a lump sum to the developer upon the lease being finalized.
The final interest rate for the balance owed by the province and municipality is 4.1 per cent — a rate locked in for the life of the lease. The developer will also be paid monthly operating costs of $82,188 for the life of the lease.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines said the fixed nature of both the rental payments and interest rate should provide sufficient protection for the public purse.
"Everything is locked in," he said. "Those are legal agreements that we had so many people working on.… I'm very confident that we are well looked after and served in this situation."
As the end of the lease approaches, the province has the right to walk away from the property, extend the lease for five more years, or negotiate a purchase price and buy the convention centre.
Should it exercise the option to renew the lease for five years, there would be an option to purchase the site for $1 at the end of 30 years.
Hines said the project is a further step in marketing the province and attracting people to Halifax, and then hopefully getting them to return and explore other parts of Nova Scotia.
He said the goal is to have about 80,000 people a year coming to attend conventions at the site.
The convention centre is part of the larger Nova Centre project, which includes a yet-to-be announced hotel, office space and retail space.