Well, we finally have an official open date. On December 15th, the long-awaited, highly-touted, brand-spankin’ new, shiny building smack-dab in the middle of Downtown Halifax will open its doors. Yes, Halifax, the seemingly endless wait is finally over. The Nova Centre is here.
Along with the controversy and complaining that has accompanied the construction over the last five years, Halifax will also receive a state-of-the-art convention centre, office building, and luxury hotel. This supremely cool, ultra-modern space once reserved for ‘big cities’ (looking at your Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver) will finally grace our city by the sea. We at AboutHalifax.com couldn’t be happier about the opening. Not only does this construction bring business opportunities to the province, but it also signals the continued renaissance of the city core. It’s hard to believe that was once a massive open pit ten years ago is now a state-of-the-art one-million square foot monolith overlooking all us Haligonians.
What Is the Nova Centre?
In the development, you’ll find a modern office and convention space, a boutique hotel, as well as shops and restaurants mixed throughout. The Nova Centre is more than a convention centre, hotel, and office space, however. It’s a centrepiece for Halifax that blends an urban, industrial, and cultural feel into one. The design pays homage to region’s maritime past with the main tower mimicking the mast of a tall ship that may have dotted Halifax Harbour over the past 350 years.
Do we know the tenants yet?
As we get closer to the open date, information on the new tenants is becoming available. Way back in 2015, BMO Financial announced themselves as the anchor tenant of the Nova Centre, which included naming rights of the north tower. This past April, accounting firm Grant Thornton announced their plans to move into the 10th and 11th floors of the new construction. At one point, Bier Markt was slated to be a primary restaurant tenant though this no longer appears to be the case. It is worth noting that there is currently no hotel tenant.
What’s Grafton Space?
Along with the development of the actual building space, there has been a revitalization movement along Argyle Street and Grafton Street. These two streets have converted to pedestrian-friendly space, which means through-traffic is allowed though the actual space focuses more towards people on their feet. Pedestrians will instantly notice the change, which features wider sidewalks, paving stones and the curbless streets. The new modifications allow space to easily convert for events, such as concerts and street festivals.
Is there anything else I should know?
Yup! What was formerly the World Trade And Convention Centre is now known as Halifax Convention Centre. After the opening ceremonies on December 15th, the building will presumably be open to the public. However, January will bring the first national and international events, including the Canadian Junior Weightlifting Nationals, Brides 2018, and the National Franchise Expo. Along with these official events, Halifax Convention Centre will host casual events between January 12th and 14th to kick off the space. These events include a casual drop-in and tour, a family-friendly movie afternoon, and free coffee house.