Federal government moves ahead with massive overhaul of West Memorial Building

Construction project will update building that has sat unused for several years

West Memorial Building
West Memorial Building

A massive, unoccupied government building in downtown Ottawa is getting a complete overhaul, with a tender now out for the project.

The West Memorial Building on Wellington Street runs between Bay and Lyon and is seven storeys tall, with two basement levels and a floor area equivalent to 22 hockey rinks.

It’s connected to the East Memorial Building by an arch across Lyon Street.

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The building, built in 1962, has sat unoccupied for several years because it received almost no upgrades since it was first built.

Nicolas Boucher, a spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada, said in an email that the building would be getting a complete overhaul.

“This construction project covers the West Memorial Building in its entirety,” he said.

That includes protecting the building’s heritage elements and upgrades to the heating, electrical and sprinkler systems and some demolition of interior walls.

The arch connecting the two buildings is not involved in the overhaul, however. The department plans to protect the marble-clad entrance and the bronze and wood doors inside as well as the brass and bronze finish on elevators.

The government would not release a cost estimate for the project, because it’s out for tender, but the tender identifies it as a larger project costing at least $5 million.

A massive project on this scale could spoil some of the Canada 150 fun, but the government has insisted that no work should take place between June 1 and August 31 that can be visible from Wellington Street. It also doesn’t want scaffolding or cranes onsite from June 23 to July 17.

The government is also eager not to let the project drag on with a strict one-year deadline for construction in the tender.

Pierre-Alain Bujold, another spokesperson for the department, said the government is working on plans on who will re-occupy the building when all of the work is done.

This article originally appeared in Metro News.

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