Opening of Nova Centre, new Halifax convention centre delayed by months

WATCH ABOVE: A timelapse video of the construction progress of the Nova Centre site in downtown Halifax. (Video courtesy: Argyle Developments Inc.)

HALIFAX – The developer of the Nova Centre and new convention centre in downtown Halifax revealed Friday the opening dates for the facilities have been pushed back by months.

The delays were announced during an update on the progress of the construction by Argyle Developments Inc. president Joe Ramia.

The Nova Centre is now slated to be substantially complete, according to Ramia, by Sept. 30, 2016 — a delay of about nine months compared to the initial estimate. Ramia said several factors led to the delays.

“Because of the complexity of this project, because of the change that came out of the public consultation process, we had to really redesign the whole project,” he said, adding that last year’s severe winter weather was also partly to blame.

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The convention centre, which was expected to open in early 2016 and already had bookings for that year, is now expected to open in January 2017.

Scott Ferguson, president of Trade Centre Ltd., said the revised date means 17 of the 30 events already booked will be affected, but he expects to retain most or all of them.

“We’re in the process of meeting with all of those customers right now,” he said. “We obviously have to change something, either their dates or their location. Some are considering trying to make it work in the existing [convention centre]. Others are looking at future years.”
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The delay also means the Nova Centre is now over budget. Ramia said he hopes to recover those costs over the next two years.

After hearing of the delays, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said there was “some disappointment,” but he believes the Nova Centre will be worth the wait.

“This is going to be a world-class facility and a world-class city. It’s going to bring people here who otherwise wouldn’t be here, and that’s good,” he said.

More updates on the progress of the construction are expected, but people involved in the project said they are confident the new deadlines will be met.

WATCH: Construction time-lapse video and architectural designs