Wood Innovation Centre is planned for Prince George

Premier Christy Clark announced Thursday that the province, thanks to a city contribution of the old Prince George Hotel site downtown, will construct a Wood Innovation and Design Centre on the site, hinting that it could be a 10-storey wood structure.

  • Sep. 23, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Bill Phillips

PG Free Press

 

 

Premier Christy Clark announced Thursday that the province, thanks to a city contribution of the old Prince George Hotel site downtown, will construct a Wood Innovation and Design Centre on the site, hinting that it could be a 10-storey wood structure.

The Wood Innovation and Resource Centre was first announced in the 2009 Throne Speech and has been re-announced several times since then.

“The Wood Innovation Design Centre will be downtown,” she said. “(It will be) the tallest multi-use wood building anywhere in the world, right here in Prince George.”

On Thusday, Clark actually called for architects, engineers and designers to come up with a plan to build what will be the world’s tallest wood building.

“It will be the showpiece for our aggressive sales pitch for wood all over the globe,” she said.

The city purchased the old P.G. Hotel site two years ago for $2.5 million and is in the process of demolishing the building.

The Wood Innovation and Design Centre will be owned by the province, however the land will continue to be owned by the city.

Clark offered no estimate on the cost of the new building, however in a press release, construction is expected to begin in 2012. City officials have pegged the cost to be around $7.5 million.

The building will house academic and research programs focused on  advancing B.C.’s expertise in wood-related products, and highlight new and  innovative wood building products and techniques. The University of  Northern British Columbia and other post-secondary institutions are examining programming options, such as housing the university’s future engineering program and a research chair on tall wood construction. The remaining building space will be available to the private sector for retail, residential and commercial leasing space.

Prince George city council was unanimous in its support of the site for the Wood Innovations and Designs Centre, hosting a press conference by the soon-to-be demolished Prince George Hotel following the announcement by the premier Thursday confirming the centre’s location.

“We believe it’s a good fit in this location,” said Mayor Dan Rogers.