A 28-storey hotel-condo building could rise on the site from which sprang the city's historic-building movement.
The proposed development at 416 Main St., shown to city councillors on the civic downtown development, heritage and riverbank management committee on Monday, would see 237 hotel rooms and 30 condo units taking up the top six floors, a full-service restaurant and 40,000 square feet of office space.
Dan Edwards, president and CEO of Creswin Properties, said parking for the complex will be in the existing parkade behind the property on Albert Street that was built for two towers -- only one, at 201 Portage Ave., has been constructed so far.
"It is very underused," he said of the parkade.
After the committee voted unanimously to open access to the development off Main Street and to convert the public alley behind it into a single-direction private lane if other nearby property owners agree, Edwards said, "We are very encouraged by today's outcome.
"We've been trying to develop this site since we acquired the property in 2003."
Edwards would not say which hotel chain is being looked at for coming into the building -- only saying "It will be welcomed by Winnipeggers" -- but a conceptual drawing has "Project W" noted in the lower corner and sources have said it is the Westin chain.
The site is a gravel parking lot now, but the proposed development, just north of Portage and Main, is where the McIntyre Block was before it was razed in the 1970s.
The outcry from that demolition galvanized citizens and is credited with helping protect the historic Exchange District, leading to the area being designated a national historic site.
Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry), chairwoman of the historic buildings committee, is still sad about the loss of the McIntyre Block and the nearby Childs Building, but she said "It's highly positive to see a mixed-use development go there.
"It's a huge positive something is going there. A surface parking lot is a lower use of the land."
Committee chairman Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) said the proposed development is "phenomenal.
"It is great it's close to Portage and Main, our key intersection, and to have people living on the upper floors is significant. I hope it gets a lot of support," Pagtakhan said.
Matt Cornelsen, who owns 61 Albert St. directly behind the proposed development, says while he is in favour of the project, he wants to see how it would impact garbage collection to his building, as well as on use of his loading dock, and on through traffic.
"All of our garbage comes out there," Cornelson said. "But that surface lot has to go... I think the project is awesome."