After sitting empty for almost five years, Peguis Pavilion at Kildonan Park is poised to house not one but two new restaurants.
Winnipeg's WOW Hospitality chain plans to open a regional-cuisine restaurant and a casual café in the city-owned pavilion, which last had a restaurant tenant in November 2008, when Partners Delicatessen closed.
The City of Winnipeg has spent $2 million renovating the 100-seat pavilion and will soon reconstruct the nearby duck pond. The city issued three searches for a restaurant tenant and finally received a proposal from WOW Hospitality this winter.
It plans to open a café serving snacks and wood-fired pizza, as well as a more upscale restaurant, positioned between Peasant Cookery in the Exchange District and Terrace In The Park in Assiniboine Park.
"It's an iconic location, and once that duck pond is finished, it will be gorgeous," WOW Hospitality's Doug Stephen said in a telephone interview. "There's not a lot up there in that area of town, so we thought it would be an opportunity for us."
On Tuesday, city council's property committee will consider a 10-year lease that would waive the gross rent for WOW during the first two years while work on the duck pond is conducted.
Gross rent would then rise to $2,500 per month for the next three years and $3,000 per month for the final five years of the lease. The city would also collect four per cent of any sales above $1.5 million a year.
Pending committee approval, the restaurant and café are slated to open on or around Canada Day. Under the terms of the lease, they would operate Tuesday through Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., with the option of opening for breakfast and lunch if demand presents itself. The restaurants can be closed no more than three months out of every year.
"The restaurant will be fine dining enough to encourage those that live in the North End of Winnipeg to consider it as a dining destination instead of travelling all the way downtown," reads the report to council's property committee.
"It will also be enough of a draw that those that live in other parts of the city will choose to make the trip to experience the location and concept."
Stephen said he hopes the restaurant will attract business from the growing suburbs north of Winnipeg.
Council property chairman Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said he is very happy with the prospective tenant.