THE CHRONICLE HERALD – October 5, 2016 Edition

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Halifax’s Nova Centre, the controversial $164-million retail mall, office complex and convention venue under construction on Argyle Street, has been delayed again.

And several of the key players don’t know why it has been stalled or when it will be completed. That has forced one of the anchor tenants, the Halifax Convention Centre, to start rebooking major conventions slated for April.

“We have received indication from the developer that the endof- completion date is likely to be pushed out, so this will impact our opening date (in the new building),” Suzanne Fougere, spokeswoman for Trade Centre Inc., which will operate the convention centre, said Tuesday.

Joe Ramia, head of managing contractor Rank Inc., has not outlined the reason for this latest delay, said Fougere.

Originally, the project was expected to be turnkey-ready in January 2016. Then the date was extended to Sept. 30, then March 2017, and now that apparently has also unravelled.

Meanwhile, the owners of a group of nearby businesses have filed a lawsuit against all parties involved in the Nova Centre project, trying to recoup some of the money they’ve lost due to the construction and its delays.

“Steps are now underway with the developer to get confirmation of the construction timeline, but in the meantime, we have also started working with those clients that will be impacted to ensure they have appropriate notice and have started working through alternatives with them,” Fougere said.

About seven national and international events are affected by the delay.

“We started working with our clients earlier this week. What we’re working on is doing our best to relocate them to the existing World Trade and Convention Centre. Ultimately, that’s a decision they’re going to have to make.

“We’re in early stages of those discussions . . . but we hope to be able to come to a solution with them.”

She said the events that are affected by the delay are a mix of mid-size to larger events.

At Halifax city hall, the puzzlement over the delay was echoed.

“The developer has been asked to provide official confirmation of the revised substantial completion date, as well as a comprehensive mitigation plan outlining efforts being made to complete the project in a timely manner,” said city spokesman Adam Richardson.

“We are awaiting an official confirmation from the developer that addresses the rationale and details associated with a revised substantial completion date.”

“We are working closely with the owner of the Nova Centre. Our existing lease has been extended,” stated Valérie Doucet of BMO Group (Bank of Montreal), another anchor tenant.

Neither Ramia nor Rank Inc. returned calls from the Chronicle Herald.

The municipal, provincial and federal governments are the major financial backers of the project.

We are working closely with the owner of the Nova Centre. Our existing lease has been extended.

Suzanne Fougere spokeswoman for Trade Centre Inc