Bank reno for arts center will cost $4-6M: report

The former Bank of Montreal branch at 159 Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. The city has closed a deal to buy the building and make it the future site of the Cornwall Arts and Culture Center. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Turning the former Bank of Montreal branch on Pitt Street into a city arts center could cost $4-6 million.

That’s on top of the $450,000 the city paid for the building – the figure is revealed in a report for Monday’s city council meeting.

The projected cost for the entire project is anywhere from one-third to one-half of what was originally proposed.

The report will also formally rescind the architectural plan to turn the Cornwall Civic Complex salons into the Cornwall Arts and Culture Center – a plan with a $12 million price tag.

The same architect behind that plan, +VG The Ventin Group Architects, was asked to give the bank a “fit test” and it passed the assessment.

“This ‘Fit Test’ review concluded that the property can accommodate the program requirement for a new Arts and Culture Center, which includes a multi-use black box theater space that could accommodate approximately 150-200 people,” the report stated.

City staff anticipate there will be significant local fundraising effort, similar to the Benson Center where $2.6 million was raised in the community.

In the meantime, the city plans to dovetail public awareness about the building with the upcoming municipal eleciton. City council will also decide Monday whether to make it the city’s election headquarters. If approved, HQ would be open Sept. 3.

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