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Downtowner to see new life as student housing

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Two local restaurateurs have purchased the former Downtowner Hotel on Ellice Avenue and plan to convert it into a student housing complex.

The North Portage Development Corporation, which had owned the hotel since 2008, announced today that the owners of Winnipeg’s India Palace — Ashwani and Suroj Nagpal — have purchased the property and plan to redevelop it as rental housing units for students who come to Winnipeg to study. The complex will also include an internationally-themed restaurant and possibly a small banquet facility.

"The experience of our own children is the reason we’re doing this," Ashwani Nagpal said in a written statement. "They were disoriented and felt very alone when they first arrived in a new city to study. Finding accommodation, having your meals taken care of, is key to settling in to the real reason you’re there — to study and enjoy the student experience."

North Portage put the hotel up for sale last August after the Hi-Winnipeg Downtower Hostel, which had been leasing the space along with the Lo Pub pub and bistro, closed its doors. The youth hostel’s closure forced Lo Pub to close, as well.

The news release did not say how much the Nagpals paid for the property, which is located at the corner of Ellice Avenue and Kennedy Street.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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