Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New concert bowl at Club Regent, 900-stall parkade at McPhillips Station

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The Manitoba Lotteries Corp. is in the midst of a mini building boom, with a new 900-stall parkade and a new concert bowl already under construction, and a previously announced highrise hotel project slated to get underway in 2013.

The three-level parkade and the 17-storey hotel, which was first announced in July 2011, will be built on either side of the MLC's McPhillips Station Casino on McPhillips Street. The 1,400-seat concert bowl is under construction in the corporation's other Winnipeg gambling palace -- Club Regent on Regent Avenue.

MLC spokeswoman Susan Olynik said construction crews are already installing the foundation piles for the parkade, which is being built on a former parking lot immediately south of McPhillips Station Casino.

She said the parkade stalls, which patrons will be able to use free of charge, will replace the parking spaces lost when Canad Inns builds its new hotel on the MLC-owned former Days Inn site immediately north of the casino.

The MLC purchased the Days Inn site in 2010 and announced the deal with Canad Inns the following summer. Under that arrangement, the Winnipeg-based hotel chain will be the developer/owner/operator of the hotel and the MLC will own the land.

At the time it was announced, Canad Inns estimated the hotel would cost about $50 million to build and that on-site amenities will include a 1,500-seat banquet and conference hall, a 500-to-600-seat dinner theatre, a restaurant, a Mediterranean-style bistro, a Tavern United sports bar, a Playmakers lounge, a fitness facility and a gift store.

Canad Inns officials could not be reached Friday to comment on whether any changes have been made to the original plans.

Like the hotel, the new parkade will be linked to the casino via an enclosed skywalk. Olynik said the parkade skywalk will be built over Jarvis Avenue and will connect to the southeast corner of the two-storey casino.

She said the parkade is expected to open sometime next fall. Work on the hotel is expected to get underway in 2013 and to be completed sometime in 2014, she added.

She said the work on the concert bowl has been underway for more than a year and won't be completed until sometime in 2013.

Olynik said the new bowl, which will have its own entrance at the back of the casino, will be more than triple the size of the old 425-seat bowl.

"We found it necessary to upgrade it if we wanted to continue to attract high-calibre entertainment and remain competitive with other casinos in Canada," many of which have larger concert bowls.

Having a larger facility will enable the casino to continue to attract the same kinds of acts it has featured in the past, as well as others who prefer to perform at larger venues.

Olynik said there are no plans to expand the 425-seat bowl at McPhillips Station Casino, which has been hosting all the concerts since the Club Regent expansion began.

As was the case with the old one, the new bowl will be used for both concerts and banquets.

"So we'll have the same flexibility there," Olynik said.

In addition to the three larger projects, Olynik said the corporation will continue to upgrade and redecorate the interior of both casinos in 2013.

Although some areas have been upgraded over the years, others are the same as they were when the two facilities were built in 1993, Olynik said.

"So they require a bit of a refresh."

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 B6

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Updated on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM CST: replaces photo, changes headline

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