Sudbury chooses convention site.

Author:Macdonald, Darren

Greater Sudbury city council has selected the Sudbury Arena site on Elgin Street in the city's downtown as the location for a proposed convention centre, library and art gallery.

The decision came on Jan. 9 after councillors received a more detailed explanation as to why the downtown Rainbow Centre shopping mall isn't suitable.

Vista Hospitality, which owns the mall, has been very public in promoting their property as the best spot for the art gallery and library.

Robert Green, Vista's program coordinator, said the mall could find a way to host the convention centre, too. With retail stores struggling across North America, the mall is focused on attracting institutional tenants, he said, and is willing to accommodate whatever the city requires.

But aside from technical issues related to the site, city finance director Ed Stankiewicz said in the long run, the city would be making a considerable investment in a property they don't own.

While a city-owned building for the projects would have considerable value in 25 years, the city would have nothing to show for it should they decide to leave the mall at the end of a long-term lease.

Stankiewicz said the difference between owning and leasing would be about $22 million after 25 years.

The plan is to begin construction on the project in 2020, when the new arena on The Kingsway in the city's east end is expected to open.

Ian Wood, the city's director of economic development, said there was a detailed set of...

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