$100 million plus OAG/Arts Court project construction starts

oag expansion

Construction has been started the new $100 million plus Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) expansion and upgrades to Arts Court.

Legal closing has been achieved between the City of Ottawa  and the consortium of EBC Inc., DevMcGill and Groupe Germain, for the public-private project, including a $41.68 million investment by the city and its partners, and a $60 million private sector investment.

“This development will be an important Sesquicentennial legacy project that will give our artists and audiences a place to come together,” Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement. “Steps away from the new Rideau LRT station, this will be a truly regional arts and culture hub to be enjoyed by residents from across the city.”

A project team has been established, hoarding has been installed, and construction activities have begun, with a planned OAG completion date of 2017. Public components of the OAG and Arts Court redevelopment include:

  • Construction of a new OAG on the vacant land at 60-70 Waller Street, which will include environmentally-controlled exhibition and curatorial spaces, event and education facilities and a café and gift shop. This will be 5,860 square metres gross floor area;
  • A 120-seat Black Box Theatre for the University of Ottawa and four associated classrooms (1,481 square metres gross floor area);
  • A 250-seat multi-purpose screening room with retractable seating and projection booth for film and digital presentations, lectures and other functions;
  •  Site development including a new rooftop terrace and three outdoor courtyards;
  • A barrier-free main entrance on Daly Avenue, new loading docks and elevators that will connect the OAG, the University of Ottawa Theatre Department and Arts Court on all four levels;
  • The creation of an east-west interior pedestrian network through renovations to the existing facility, that will link Arts Court to the University of Ottawa to the east, and to the future Light Rail Transit station at Rideau Centre to the west; and
  • Renovation of existing spaces vacated by the OAG, which will provide improved facilities for creation, production, exhibition and performance for some of Ottawa’s artist-run centres (2,014 square metres gross floor area).

The private sector components include a mixed-use condo and hotel tower, an  underground parking structure and some of the site’s infrastructure upgrades.. The new development tower with boutique hotel and condominiums, as well as the repurposed Arts Court, are planned to be complete in 2018.

“The University of Ottawa is proud to be a partner in the Arts Court Redevelopment project. The facilities, including a 120 seat black box theatre and four studio-style classrooms, will add much needed expansion for the University’s Faculty of Arts Theatre programme,” Professor Joël Beddows, chair of uOttawa’s Department of Theatre, said in a statement. “The synergy of being located in the Arts Court Complex along with other arts organisations will foster new collaborative opportunities to the benefit of our students and the arts community in the region.”

Planning for this project was a collaborative effort involving the City, key local arts partners including the OAG, SAW Video Media Art Centre, SAW Gallery, Independent Filmmakers Cooperative of Ottawa, Artengine, and the Department of Theatre at the University of Ottawa


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