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$3M-plus refit of Convergys building to start next year

The former Convergys call centre on the corner of Seventh Street and Princess Avenue.

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The former Convergys call centre on the corner of Seventh Street and Princess Avenue.

A $3 million project to turn a former call centre into offices for city of Brandon staff will get under way early in the new year.

Horizon Builders won the tender from the city to do conversion work on the building, at 638 Princess Ave. Previously, the space housed a Convergys call centre, but fell back into city hands after the company terminated their lease early.

The building will now be re-fitted to house a number of city departments and civic functions, including the engineering department, planning and building safety department, Brandon and Area Planning District, the community services department (including a cultural centre and youth centre) and parks management, emergency coordination offices and the back-up site for E-911 dispatch services.

"Right now, we have several departments where staff are either forced to split up and work out of separate offices, or they are almost working on top of each other due to a severe lack of space," said city manager Scott Hildebrand. "Having these departments work from one central location will provide a more seamless delivery of service to our public."

In total, the city will occupy about 30,000 square feet inside the renovated building, with some empty space available for future needs.

"The building will have three points of public access, in order for members of the community to access our development services and community services departments, as well as the forthcoming youth and cultural centres," said Patrick Pulak, the city's deputy director of engineering services and water resources.

"The city will have immediate use for approximately 30,000 square feet within the building, but there’s developed space in the basement that we may be looking to lease out, and there is also undeveloped space available if we need to re-evaluate our needs in the future," he said. "This project is essentially about taking an underutilized City asset and renovating it to allow us to better meet the needs of our growing community."

It is hoped that city staff will be able to begin moving into the renovated space in late October of 2014, after which time a number of departments at City Hall and the Community Services Complex will be re-arranged to backfill the vacated office space.

The total cost of the project, including architectural fees, information technology/networking costs, furniture, and contingencies, is estimated at about $3.275 million, some of which the city has in reserve. The rest will be borrowed.

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Wow, our mayor must be following the premiers lead, spend money you don't have....

Is the city calling this new building City Hall No. 2? Makes one wonder just how many new jobs have been created since 2010. A youth centre plus a cultural centre, this city is flush with money, oh yeah, that's right, they can always raise our taxes! Perhaps this is why the possibility of a thirteen percent tax increase for next year was raised at the budget meeting last week?

Arlene Saito

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