CMLC and Calgary Stampede Announce Project Team to Lead BMO Centre Expansion

    · 8 min read

    Team of local and international experts will work with CMLC to double the size of Calgary’s landmark convention and meeting venue

    Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is pleased to announce the project team that will transform BMO Centre into a modern and international-ready venue. BMO Centre has been Calgary’s premier venue for consumer and trade shows, special events, meetings and conferences since its opening in 1982. Two previous expansions have allowed it to hold its own among the region’s meeting and convention venues and this latest expansion—the design of which is set to begin—will bring it to the next level, competing with top-tier global convention centres.

    As partners and neighbours, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede have worked closely together since 2007. With the Rivers District Master Plan now complete, which envisions an expanded BMO Centre to help catalyze development in Calgary’s emerging Culture & Entertainment District, the Calgary Stampede has tapped CMLC to act as development manager for the project.

    “We’ve always been about community building, and this project is a perfect driver for the Culture & Entertainment District,” says Michael Brown, President and CEO, CMLC. “The BMO Centre expansion is a transformational project that will make significant direct and indirect contributions to the growing energy and excitement in east Victoria Park. It’s a signal to the world that Calgary is coming into its own as a first-class destination for international visitors. The Calgary Stampede is a wonderfully supportive and gracious partner in giving CMLC the honour of delivering the city’s top-tier convention centre it deserves.”

    With funding in place from all three orders of government, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede initiated a robust procurement process to identify the project team that will lead the complex, $500-million expansion of the BMO Centre. The intricate work required to complete an expansion of this scale—all while maintaining building operations—calls for a highly specialized skillset, extensive experience and intimate knowledge of the needs and operations of convention venues. The BMO Centre project team has been carefully selected to provide expertise in four key areas: convention venue operations, project management, construction management and architectural design.

    The process to select the prime design consultant team to lead the architectural planning and design of the building attracted interest from across North America. After carefully reviewing 12 proposals, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede selected a leading-edge team, comprised of three architectural firms: Stantec, Populous, and S2 Architecture. This team has extensive international experience in convention centre design, intimate understanding of the building requirements and the local area, and a strong sense of how the centre fits into and enhances the local community.

    “The collective experience and strength of this team is testament to the importance of the BMO Centre expansion for Calgary, says Dana Peers, President & Chairman of the Board of the Calgary Stampede. “The team at Stantec, Populous, and S2 Architecture offer un-paralleled expertise in not only the building’s design, but how it will interact and integrate with the surrounding community and Stampede Park. After years of planning, it is very exciting to bring this team on board to realize our vision.”

    Of course, a project of this magnitude wouldn’t be possible without a rock-solid supporting team. To round out the BMO expansion team, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede have also enlisted convention venue operations specialist HLT Advisory Inc., project management firm M3 Development and construction management by PCL Construction.

    “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,” says Michael Lockwood, senior principal at Populous. “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.”

    Stantec senior principal Léo Lejeune shares CMLC’s high hopes for downtown Calgary’s east end. “Stantec took great pride in helping CMLC usher in a new era in the Rivers District by designing and implementing the award-winning (and well-loved) Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk™ along the Bow River. Urban connectivity and community activation have always been important parts of our design approach, and we bring this same perspective and accountability to the BMO Centre expansion project.”

    Chosen for their complementary expertise— Stantec’s global involvement in transformational community projects, Populous’ innovative practices in international convention centre design, and S2’s local experience in projects on Stampede Park and in east Victoria Park—the three-firm design team will begin design immediately.

    A key component of the redevelopment of downtown Calgary’s east end and BMO Centre expansion is the culmination of a shared vision by CMLC, the Calgary Stampede and the City of Calgary to diversify Calgary’s economy by developing trade and tourism within the region. The expanded BMO Centre will enable Calgary to compete for major international meetings and conventions—which will add jobs, inject new energy and help catalyze the transformation of downtown Calgary’s east end into the city’s new Culture & Entertainment District.

    “When the expansion is completed in 2024, BMO Centre will have more than doubled its current rentable space, with nearly one million square ft. of total floor space—making it the second-largest facility of its kind in the country,” adds Peers. “This is a tremendous opportunity for growth and development in the city—one that comes after years of focused planning and eager anticipation. The Calgary Stampede is extremely pleased with the project team now in place. Their success in leading projects of this magnitude not only makes them the right team to do this work, but we know they will help us deliver on our commitment to our community and continue to provide exceptional guest experiences.”

    To allow for the expansion, minimizing any disruption to BMO Centre operations, work began this spring to construct an additional space, known as Hall F. Local firms Gibbs Gage and Stuart Olson are managing the construction of the approximately 100,000 square foot Hall F immediately north of the existing centre. Construction on Hall F is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020.

    Construction of the BMO expansion will support 1,862 direct year-round jobs in Alberta. Post-construction, it will create 1,757 direct, full-time jobs—90 per cent of which will stay in Calgary.

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