Ottawa Art Gallery expansion, Arts Court redevelopment construction begins

Construction officially began Wednesday on the Ottawa Art Gallery expansion and the Arts Court redevelopment.

The city announced it had closed an agreement with the consortium of EBC Inc., DevMcGill and Groupe Germain, which is responsible for the $100-million project.

“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.

In planning the project, the city partnered with the Ottawa Art Gallery, SAW Video Media Art Centre, SAW Gallery, Independent Filmmakers Cooperative of Ottawa, Artengine and the Department of Theatre at the University of Ottawa.

“This is a momentous milestone for the Ottawa Art Gallery and we couldn’t be happier,” gallery director and CEO Alexandra Badzak said in a statement. “This project is a coming-of-age for our community, a home for the arts and an important legacy for the city of Ottawa.”

The Arts Court redevelopment will include a 120-seat black box theatre and four studio-style classrooms. It will help the University of Ottawa expand its theatre program.

“The synergy of being located in the Arts Court Complex along with other arts organizations will foster new collaborative opportunities to the benefit of our students and the arts community in the region,” theatre department chair Joël Beddows said in a statement.

The gallery expansion is expected to be completed in 2017, while the Arts Court redevelopment, along with the boutique hotel and condominiums, should be finished the following year.

The city is investing $41.68 million, with the private sector partners picking up the rest of the tab.