Grandiose events center plans for Canada City


Canada Burnaby new events and convention center Image: City of Burnaby

Burnaby’s (in British Columbia, Canada) Municipal Government has outlined a possible direction for its ambitious plans to set up an events and convention center at its emerging Downtown Metrotown. sources stated that the Metrotown Downtown Plan was adopted by the Council on July 24, 2017. The Plan provides the opportunity to create a true downtown for Burnaby, one that enables the highest order of land use and development supported by social, recreation, entertainment, and cultural amenities important to all of Burnaby’s residents, businesses and employees.

The City Council greenlighted the initial planning steps in Summer 2019, and over the past year the City staff have been working with Chicago (US)-based destination consulting firm Hunden Strategic Partners to establish a potential concept for the new arena.

The Municipal Government is spending about $1 million between 2019 and 2023 for the creation of the convention center’s high-level conceptual design.

Hunden Strategic Partners is a sponsor of Coliseum Online Week Europe 2021 Worldwide which will be held from March 22nd-26th, 2021.

Rob Hunden, President, Hunden Strategic Partners, US, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance. sources stated that an events and convention center is a key feature for the City’s 2017-approved Downtown Metrotown Plan, which calls for the eventual redevelopment of Metropolis at Metrotown shopping mall. This cultural and entertainment venue is slated for existing mall property next to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Station.

A new City staff report outlines a possible concept with a total floor area of 196,380 sq. ft., within the equivalent height of a five-story building on a five-acre lot. This includes a 60,000 sq. ft. event hall, designed with a flat floor, as opposed to a rigid theater with fixed seating. It will be a multipurpose event space that can stage a large single event, such as concerts and performances, or be configured into two separate 30,000 sq. ft. spaces with events that can occur simultaneously.

The floor area size of this event hall can be compared to the Vancouver Convention Centre’s quintessential waterfront West Ballroom, which is 53,000 sq. ft. and can be subdivided into four smaller ballrooms.

The 12,000-capacity Vancouver Convention Centre is a convention center in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is one of Canada’s largest convention centers. With the opening of the new West Building in 2009, it now has 43,340 square meters of meeting space.

Other areas of the Metrotown event space include 40,080 sq. ft. of atrium lobby and pre-function space, 26,800 sq. ft. of circulation space, 18,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms, 26,950 sq. ft. of back of house space, and 9,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurants.

As well, the identified preferred option calls for a new 36,000 sq. ft. art gallery, with 13,000 sq. ft. dedicated solely for exhibition areas and visitor services. sources added that the art gallery will sit within its own standalone building adjoining the convention center, and amounts to a relocation of Burnaby Art Gallery’s collections within Burnaby Village Museum administration building and Ceperley House.

A large outdoor public plaza that separates the convention center and art gallery buildings will be in a position to stage community events, gathering space for public meetings and presentations, performances, and exhibitions related to the art gallery.

Given the size of the convention center building, it is visualized to be an opportunity to “demonstrate world-class urban design and architecture,” creating an “established civic presence” within Metrotown.

The highly preliminary estimated total cost of the project stands at circa $460 million, including $241 million for the convention center, $47 million for the art gallery, $121 million for about 1,000 underground vehicle parking stalls, and $13 million for the public plaza. Although this is a City priority under the Downtown Metrotown Plan, this project is currently unfunded.

The convention center could play host to as many as 566 events annually and attract up to 250,000 visitors.

As per the consultants, there is a market gap for multifunctional venues in the mid-sized range (50,000 sq. ft. to 75,000 sq. ft.) with flexible non-fixed seating, accommodating between 1,000 and 3,000 people for conferences, banquets, meetings, and other events. There are also secondary market opportunities for small- and mid-sized conventions, consumer and trade shows and sports and dance events.

Such an entertainment and cultural facility is deemed essential for ensuring the success of Downtown Metrotown, as it will generate an atmosphere of excitement and vibrancy, contribute to placemaking and civic identity and provide spaces for dialog and the exchange of ideas.

There are also synergies with the area’s concentration of retail and restaurant offerings, and the long-term redevelopment of the 47-acre shopping center into the high-density core of the City center with a mix of residential, retail, restaurants, and offices. The existing indoor mall will be largely torn down, and a new street grid will be formed to create City blocks for development. Ivanhoe Cambridge, the owner of the mall, plans to develop as many as 15,000 homes over the course of several decades.

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