Waterfront Drive has a new commercial tenant.
Premiere Executive Suites has leased one of the last two vacant commercial units in the Excelsior condominium complex for its new regional office.
Premiere's local franchise, which is co-owned by Winnipeg entrepreneur Sandy Sager, leases luxury condominiums from condo owners in Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon, and then rents them out by the month to extended-stay guests.
Sager said the franchise needed a new regional office because it had outgrown the old one, which had operated out of the basement of her south Winnipeg home for the last three years.
With 35 of Premiere's 44 extended-stay units in Winnipeg located in six Exchange District condominium complexes, Waterfront Drive was the perfect location for the new regional office, Sager said.
"Most of our suites are within walking distance of here."
'Most of our suites are within walking distance of here'
Premiere celebrated the grand opening of its 1,300-square-foot, main-floor office last Thursday. Sager said the firm spent upwards of $15,000 on furnishings and finishings for the space, so it intends to be there for a long time.
That's good news for the Excelsior's developer, Sherwood Developments Ltd., which has been trying for six years to fill the five commercial units in the complex.
Premiere is the fourth tenant to move into the 11,000-square-foot area, leaving one 800-square-foot, main-floor unit left to fill.
"It took a while, but it's all coming together nicely now," Sherwood president Fausto Pereira said in an interview.
Although they don't have anyone lined up for the last unit, Pereira said they came close to landing a good one when someone approached them recently about opening a bake shop in the space.
While that would have been a great addition to the area, Pereira said the space wasn't equipped to handle the kind of large commercial ovens the shop would have needed. And it proved too costly to upgrade it to that level, he added, so the deal fell through.
"It's just a matter of time before we get that last unit rented," he predicted, "and I'm confident it will happen sooner rather than later."
Like most of the area's residents, Pereira would love to see a bakery, specialty-foods store or maybe a small grocery store open in that spot.
He said the Excelsior's other three commercial tenants -- the Lash Love Nail Bar, Waterfront Massage Therapy and Carnival Brazilian BBQ -- all appear to be doing well.
"The restaurant (which opened in February) seems to be a smashing success. Everyone I've talked to who has been there absolutely loved it," he added.
The Excelsor isn't the only Waterfront Drive condo development that has found it a challenge to attract commercial tenants to the area.
Sunstone Resort Communities has been trying for two years to find buyers for the three commercial units in the soon-to-be-completed Phase II of its Sky Waterfront Condominiums development.
The units range in size from 700 to 2,975 square feet, according to one of the listing agents -- Claude Davis of Royal Lepage Dynamic Real Estate. But Davis said the largest unit could easily be divided into smaller units if needed.
He said an art dealer has expressed an interest in one of the units but hasn't committed to anything.
"And hopefully we might get a coffee shop or something like that. They would also be perfect for a small law firm or maybe an accountant's office."
Davis said he's hoping interest will pick up once the Phase II building is completed.
"No one is going to grab them (the commercial units) until they are ready to go, and they won't be ready to go until October," he said, although he noted all but two of the 31 residential units have now been sold.
Sager said she looked at a number of downtown locations before choosing the Excelsior space.
She said they're hoping to add another eight units next year to their growing Winnipeg inventory of executive suites. Premiere charges $115 per night for a 30-day stint in one of its one-bedroom luxury units, which include a kitchen, dining area, living room and in-suite washer and dryer.
"It's like a home away from home."
Clients include business executives who have moved here and need a place to stay until they move into a home; film-industry people, including directors, producers and actors, who are here to shoot a film; and out-of-town consultants -- engineers, IT specialists etc. -- working on local projects.
"We also get some business from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet... and MTC (the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)," Sager said. "There is so much growth going on in Winnipeg right now, so that's been very beneficial to us."
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail, or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.