LETHBRIDGE, AB. – Construction officially commenced on the 268,000-square foot Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre, the largest development project in the history of Lethbridge & District Exhibition, at the official sod-turning ceremony today at Exhibition Park.
The $70.5 million project is being managed by Ward Bros. Construction Ltd. of Lethbridge. The project will create nearly 400 construction jobs over the next 20 months. Up to 50 new, full-time permanent positions will also be created to operate the facility when it opens in early 2023.
“With additional capacity for events and opportunities for local producers, businesses and students, the hub is an exciting example of the bold, ambitious and forward-thinking projects powered by Alberta’s Recovery Plan,” said Premier Jason Kenney. “This development will help position Alberta for prosperity by creating jobs, attracting investment, and showcasing our province’s growing value-added food sector.”
The new facility will double current hosting capacity to accommodate more and larger national and international events with up to 7,000 people. Once operational, the Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre is expected contribute more than $90 million every year to the regional economy.
“The Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre is going to ignite economic growth, not just Lethbridge and the southern Alberta economy, but also for Canada`s agricultural industry,” said Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman. “It will attract more traffic both from within the community, but more importantly from throughout the world, to come to Lethbridge. This will generate more direct flights to our city, increase demand for hotels and generate new investment in our community.”
The Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre is funded by the Government of Alberta, through Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the City of Lethbridge, which will maintain ownership of the land, and a 30-year loan secured against the future operations of the facility.
“The new Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre is becoming a reality because of the unprecedented shared vision and collaboration of the Government of Alberta, the City of Lethbridge, Lethbridge & District Exhibition and our partners, especially those in our agriculture community,” said Mike Warkentin, chief operating officer of Lethbridge & District Exhibition. “Already, this project is becoming a centre of gravity for attracting jobs and people to Lethbridge.”
About Lethbridge & District Exhibition
Park, under the management and leadership of Lethbridge & District Exhibition, is the premiere destination for bringing people together from all over the world in Lethbridge. It accelerates economic opportunity through the delivery of memorable experiences. For more information, please visit exhibitionpark.ca