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CentreVenture buys St. Regis Hotel, plans to close beverage and VLT lounge

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A downtown development agency has purchased the St. Regis Hotel in an effort to reduce excesssive alcohol consumption in the downtown.

This afternoon, CentreVenture announced it has finialized a deal to buy St. Regis Hotel and the adjacent surface parking lots in the 200 block of Smith Street. The agency plans to close the hotel's beverage and VLT lounge when it takes possession of the property in January.

The hotel purchase is part of CentreVenture's broader plan to redevelop Portage Avenue and the Sports Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED).

CentreVenture CEO Ross McGowan said the SHED district and Portage Avenue is still often associated with panhandling and aggressive behaviour due to excessive alcohol consumption. He said CentreVenture plans to lease the St. Regis Hotel back to the current operators as a dry facility.

"We don't want any alcohol in there," McGowan said this afternoon. "We want the difficulties that go on outside of that place to be removed."

He said the hotel will continue to operate otherwise, and typically houses visitors to Winnipeg for long-term medical stays. CentureVenture may issue a request for proposals on the surface parking lots sometime in the next year.

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