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Sudbury mall owners reveal proposed renderings for city library, art gallery

Vista Hospitality says using Rainbow Centre would revitalize Elm Street and costs would be up to 70 per cent lower than a new build.

The Rainbow Centre in downtown Sudbury wants to be the location of Greater Sudbury's new art gallery and library.

The retail location's owners, Vista Hospitality, issued a news release on Nov. 6, detailing why, in their view, the Rainbow Centre just makes the most sense to host one of the big projects slated to be built in the downtown core.

Council has also pledged support to the Place des Arts francophone arts and culture centre and the Synergy Centre performing arts and convention centre.

Vista describes the Rainbow Centre as "the ideal location" for an art gallery and library due to its location, available space, parking and built-in amenities, like a hotel and retail locations, and lower-cost development.
"The City of Sudbury’s Downtown Master Plan outlines several priorities that are consistent and match with the site as being located at The Rainbow Centre," Vista stated in a news release.

"The Library and Art Gallery’s importance in the identity of the downtown core will be matched by the continuing redevelopment of the single largest property in the downtown and its impact on the Elm Street corridor and St. Anne’s future ring road expansion."

In the release, Vista highlighted its more than 900 parking spaces, 24-hour security services, retail and professional services, health and fitness facilities, hotel and entertainment amenities, like the Downtown Movie Lounge, as key selling points for it to house the library and art gallery.

"It is our belief that the City of (Greater) Sudbury and its citizens deserve to have a city centre that provides guests with more than just one or two attractions, a centre that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds repeatedly throughout their lifetime," Vista stated. "This is why the Rainbow Centre is the best choice in the decision of constructing the downtown library and art gallery." 

The vision Vista describes is a revitalized Elm Street corridor with "more pedestrian friendly access, more landscaping, more storefront shops, as per the master plan, with the Rainbow Centre and the School of Architecture serving as the anchors."

"For this reason, Vista Hospitality is ready to commit to the most favourable terms the city wishes, whether it be represented by a multi-decade lease agreement, or lease with purchase options on segments of the property."

The company said it has calculated that construction costs would be 25 to 30 per cent lower than a new build, lessening costs by tens of millions of dollars. 

"Currently, the project is anticipated to cost the taxpayers $42 million, plus a contingency if built as a single-purpose project, and, if built within the Rainbow Centre, it is anticipated to be completed for not more than $12 to $14 million, a significant savings to and for the taxpayers."

This project would also provide new external facades on the property and a full rebranding of the Rainbow Centre. It is anticipated the rebranding would be done with the public’s input and a competition issuing an award for the rebrand (including new name and logo) chosen, Vista stated.

Vista has also suggested it would like to be a major sponsor for this project and donate accordingly should an option be exercised.

Council is to review a report on the downtown big projects at its Nov. 21 meeting.

You can view the city's Downtown Master Plan online here.