The gallery (which is meant to replace the current AGNS at 1723 Hollis Street) was originally expected to cost about $137 million. But, the province says in a release that "a recent independent estimate projected a cost increase of at least $25 million, most likely significantly more, due to rising inflation and increased construction costs."
Without the province's promised $70 million investment, plans for the new space cannot go ahead. (The province, meanwhile, calls the project "paused indefinitely" in its statement.)
The new gallery was planned as part of an ambitious, new cultural sector on the city's waterfront, called the Waterfront Arts District. KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public Work and Transsolar combined forces to create the winning design for the new gallery, which includes an entryway styled after the peaked hats traditionally worn by Mi’kmaq women.
Back when the winning design was selected—at a press conference in November 2020—co-designer Whitman took to the stage, saying: "This is just the beginning of a new beginning; a circle, so to speak, with no beginning and no end. Just a world of opportunity."