Vancouver Plans Major Upgrades for Waterfront

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- City officials here unveiled plans to reshape Vancouver's waterfront, Canada Place, with major upgrades to its convention center and cruise ship port.

The city said it will more than double the size of its convention center, add a 1,000-room Marriott Hotel and open a berth for megaliners by the winter of 2001. The Portside Trade and Convention Centre Expansion Project will be developed by Greystone Properties Ltd., a local land developer; Host Marriott; Marriott International, and city, provincial and national governments.

The convention center expansion, estimated by Vancouver to cost $175 million, will add a 250,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 50,800-square-foot ballroom, 98,700 square feet of meeting rooms and a 1,500-seat lecture hall. When combined with the existing Pan Pacific and Waterfront Centre hotels, the proposed $225 million, 1,000-room Marriott Hotel will double the number of guest rooms connected to the convention center. The Marriott, which will be located on top of the convention center expansion area, will include a ballroom, meeting rooms, and restaurant and lounge facilities. According to Greystone, Host Marriott and Marriott International will provide 80% of the equity for the property.

The new cruise ship berth, the third at the cruise ship terminal, will accommodate the new generation of megaliners. According to the Vancouver Port Corp., operators of the facility, the present terminal is expected to reach capacity by 2005. The Portside project will include the expansion of Maritime Plaza; the addition of a waterfront space named Portside Plaza, which will be accessible by foot, car, SeaBus and SkyTrain; an extension of the city's waterfront walkway system, and extensions to area streets.

The project also envisions a retail pavilion along Canada Place Way and a downtown check-in facility for the new international arrivals terminal at Vancouver Airport.

Project developers will seek to integrate the existing SeaBus, West Coast Express, SkyTrain, Heliport and cruise ship facilities into a central hub connected by the underground pedestrian system that links Canada Place with hotels and the Sinclair Centre.

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