Nunastar plans to expand Iqaluit’s Astro Hill complex

Changes would offer more retail, office space, and a smaller conference centre

Nunastar Properties Inc. plans to expand Astro Hill Ridge building, seen here, and add another storey. Retail will be added to the first floor and the second floor will be used for office space. The existing Koojesse conference centre will become considerably smaller. (File photo)

By David Lochead

Nunastar Properties intends to increase the amount of retail and office space in Iqaluit through an expansion of its Astro Hill complex.

“You have to build places where people work, where people play and where people shop,” Nunastar Properties president Ed Romanowski said.

The plan is to expand Astro Hill’s Ridge Building, which holds the Koojesse conference centre, and add another storey, Romanowski said.

With the expansion, the floor that holds the Koojesse conference centre would grow to 14,000 square feet, from 10,000 square feet, and a second storey of the same size would be added on top.

In the new plan, 9,000 square feet of the first floor will be for retail and 5,000 square feet will be for the Koojesse conference centre. The second floor will be used for office space.

Romanowski said there has been interest for both the retail and office space, and the expansion will result in a smaller Koojesse conference centre.

With the Aqsarniit Hotel offering its own conference rooms, there is less need for Nunastar to maintain a large conference facility, Romanowski said.

“We have a community of 8,500 people, having two large convention centres doesn’t make much sense,” he said, adding the Koojesse conference centre will still be used for smaller functions such as weddings or seminars.

The total cost of the project is approximately $12 million.

It will take until late March for Nunastar to submit all the permits necessary to the Government of Nunavut, Romanowski said. He estimates construction for the project will begin in April or May.

The Koojesse conference centre will close once construction begins and reopen in early 2023, while the retail and office space should open in late 2023, he added.

In a separate project, two new stores will be added to the Astro Hill Mall.

Aurora Hairstyling and NorthTech Solutions, an electronics sales and service store, will replace the space in the mall that was previously occupied by a Quickstop convenience store.

Both stores should be open and in the mall by May.

While Nunastar continues its operations, the pandemic has not made it easy for projects to continue.

“Everything takes longer, it’s more expensive, more labour intensive, more difficult to find supply materials, everything,” Romanowski said.

He added that he expects costs to continue rising due to inflation.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Jenni on

    I’m glad they’re still keeping some space for the conference centre. There is a huge need for space, it’s only recently that they would have seen a downturn and that’s a direct result of covid. Pricing for community groups and individuals would also be nice. Not every organization has GN money to rent the facilities.

  2. Posted by Iqaluitmut on

    Good if it’s 50 percent Inuit work force not southerners making the good bucks I hope for Inuit.

    • Posted by Putting this out there on

      The way to make sure it is atleast 50% Inuit workforce is by either you working and/or pressuring any of your friends/family members that dont have a job to go and work there everyday. that would ensure more Inuit are on the jobsite working. and more money kept in Iqaluit.

    • Posted by Southerner on

      Anyone else getting tired of the prejudice against fellow canadians that live past a imaginary border that allows some real hurtful comments, like take our jobs away.

  3. Posted by still here on

    In other parts of the country for large bldg. firms to create extra housing and commercial space, they would be required to make agreements with the “city” before being allowed to build further, to create more accessible units for people in need of social housing. City may not be smart enough for this to understand the clout they may have in these situations.


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