The New Brunswick government has announced it will sell Fredericton’s Centennial Building for a cool $4 million in a bid to restart work on the troubled project in the city’s downtown core.
Centennial Heritage Properties Inc. will be the new owner of the building, with the provincial government estimating the company will “invest more than $48 million” to complete the development.
Construction is expected to create more than 450 jobs as well.
The New Brunswick government axed the project in December 2018 shortly after coming to power in that year’s election.
Bill Oliver, New Brunswick’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, said at the time that the province had already spent $13 million on the project when it was cancelled.
“This is a much better deal for taxpayers,” Premier Blaine Higgs said in a press release. “The previous proposal to create additional office space for government was simply not needed.”
New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon had a mixed reaction to the news, saying he would have preferred to see the building stay in public hands.
People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin welcomed the deal, saying he was happy to see the private sector take over the building.
The New Brunswick government estimates the province will save $60 million in capital expenditures by entering into a sales agreement with the private developer.
Centennial Heritage Properties Inc. is reportedly planning a two-phase approach to complete the project, which will include a hotel and restaurant as well as space for residential units.
Coon said he’d like to see some of the residential space set aside for affordable housing units.
The development plan includes preserving “many of the historically significant elements of the interior and exterior features of the building,” including original artwork on loan from the New Brunswick Art Bank, the province said.