The Calgary Herald reports that the Calgary Stampede has confirmed a proposed $500 million expansion of the BMO Centre, the city’s largest convention centre.
In the article, Warren Connell, CEO of the Calgary Stampede, explained that the expansion would transform the facility from a tier-two convention centre to a tier-one facility capable of handling major international events. He also said that the “expansion plan has been under development for three years and Stampede officials are meeting with all three levels of government to discuss funding for the mega project.”
The BMO Centre currently has 265,000 square feet of space. It includes five 50,000-square-foot exhibit halls; the 1,000-square-foot Boyce Theatre; and breakout rooms ranging in size from the the 12,000-square-foot Palomino Room to 425-square-foot spaces.
According to the Calgary Herald report, the centre had a $50 million expansion in 2007 and its utilization rate is 73 per cent—15 per cent over the Canadian average of 58 per cent.
Connell told reporter Annalise Klingbell that the expansion would take approximately four years, and has been planned so there would be no need to shut down the centre or disrupt booked events. He also said the expected economic impact of the expansion plan would include:
- 1,800 full-time jobs during the construction period
- 500 full-time jobs in the community as a result of increased tourism
- the estimated contribution to Alberta’s economy of $73 million annually
- a contribution of $87 million to Canada’s GDP
“This is something that Calgary needs,” said Connell. “To be quite frank, we’re bursting at the seams with the business we currently have.”