February 22, 2013
It was the moment that his vision became reality.
The National Music Centre broke ground Friday afternoon on its proposed $150 million new home in East Village, with a ceremony that featured Premier Alison Redford, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, other members of all three levels of government, dignitaries, Canadian snowbird, herself Anne Murray, and a beaming Mosker, the President and CEO of the NMC, looking very much the part of proud papa.
“It’s not just an idea anymore, it’s actually happening,” he told the crowd assembled in the Enmax District Energy Centre on 9th Ave. S.W, across from the building site.
The new 160,000-square-foot facility is scheduled for a 2015 completion — about 10 years after the project was conceived — with initial work, Mosker later told the media, already having begun.
“We’ve been working on the site for the last year but dirt is going to start getting moved today, and the next couple of days it’s just going to start picking up. . . . But construction is started.”
When it’s completed, it will feature recording studios, spaces for live musical performances, exhibit space for artifacts from both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection, and will also house the NMC’s massive collection of unique musical instruments.
“We are building a home to celebrate the stories and music of this county — Canada,” Mosker says, noting that the design by Allied Works Architecture, with local firm Kasian Architecture, will incorporate into it “one huge iconic artifact,” the old King Edward Hotel, “infamous” former home of the blues in Western Canada.
There are, however, still questions about the funding for the National Music Centre. With $135 million needed for the completion of the building and another $15 million tabbed for “related development and programming costs,” only approximately two-thirds, or $97 million, have been raised for the projected $150 million project.
The three levels of government have each committed up to $25 million, with the funding from the federal government based on a maximum tied to a recently finalized agreement that would see them contribute up to “one-third of total eligible costs.”
The remainder, then, will be up to the National Music Centre to cover. They have already raised $22 million, with the remaining $53 million slated to come from fundraising, help from private donors and corporate sponsorship as well as philanthropic organizations. As to whether or not they were putting the sod-turning before the new home, Mosker said that was actually part of the reason for the Friday ceremony, to not only keep it in the public eye but also raise awareness among possible donors or partners.
“You want to instil in people the confidence that the project is becoming a reality instead of a vision,” he said, noting that he’s confident that they’ll “meet the goal by the time 2015 rolls around.
“We’ve got a good team in place, a good team of volunteers. The groundbreaking, itself, is going to give us a lot of momentum to ensure that we meet that goal. And we will.”