3 firms to design Calgary's $500-million BMO Centre expansion

May 24 2019, 7:52 am

Three architectural firms have been chosen to design the expansion of BMO Centre into a world-class convention centre for Calgary.

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On Thursday, following a procurement process that resulted in 12 proposals, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) announced the three-firm project team — comprised of Edmonton-based Stantec Architecture, Kansas City-founded Populous, and Vancouver-based S2 Architecture — as the designers for the expansion that will provide the Stampede grounds with increased capacity to host consumer and trade shows, special events, meetings, and conferences.

Of special mention is the inclusion of Populous, which is internationally recognized for designing sports venues, arenas, and convention centres, including over 100 major stadiums for the NFL, MLB, NHL, and even Olympic venues.

“We’re honored to partner with CMLC and the Calgary Stampede on a project that has such a rich history of bringing people together for unforgettable experiences,” said Michael Lockwood, senior principal at Populous, in a statement.

“With our background in convention centre design, Populous will help expand not only a marquee events facility, but also expand and grow the whole guest experience in and around Stampede Park. Our design solutions for this complex urban convention centre expansion will help usher an exciting new future where residents and international event attendees co-exist daily in a dynamic and burgeoning Culture and Entertainment District.”

The expansion will double the usable bookable space at the BMO to about 500,000 sq. ft., with a total building floor area of approximately one million sq. ft. of total floor space, making it the second largest facility of its kind in Canada.

This facility, in partnership with the Calgary Stampede, is also integral to Rivers District Master Plan, as it will be a major catalyst for the area’s redevelopment and revitalization.

All three levels of government — federal, provincial, and municipal — are each contributing about $166 million to cover the project’s full construction cost.

BMO Centre originally opened in 1982, and pre-construction work recently began on the expansion for a possible opening in 2024.

The first phase entails a new additional space called Hall F, located immediately north of the existing centre. It will provide 100,000 sq. ft. of space.

The construction process is expected to create 1,862 direct year-round jobs in the province, and when open the facility will create 1,757 direct, full-time jobs.

In March, city council gave its approval for a number of new cultural and events facilities, including the BMO Centre, a new fieldhouse, an expansion of Arts Commons, and a new home for the Calgary Flames in a new event arena.

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