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This article was published 8/6/2010 (2602 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE extreme makeover of a Portage Avenue blemish -- turning it into a 59-apartment block -- has spread to a second building next door.
Developers Mark and Rick Hofer's project to renovate the Avenue Building at 265 Portage Ave., which has sat empty for a decade, now includes the Hample Building immediately to the west, Mark Hofer said Tuesday.
Hofer said the plan is to add 12 more apartments, commercial space and up to 40 underground parking spots.
He said he and his brother believe they'll have no difficulty finding renters for the one-bedroom apartments, which will go for about $650 to $950 a month when finished in 12 to 16 months.
"I think people that are going to try to live downtown, trying to stimulate downtown, making them buy a $250,000 to $500,000 condo, for sure there's a market there, but to bring some of the young people, vibrant people, I think it has to be a rental option," he said.
"I don't know how many students can afford $200,000 to $300,000 for a condo."
Hofer said more people living downtown brings with it more business, such as restaurants and stores, which in turn attracts more people.
"Look at every other city in North America. The downtown has a significant amount of living. Why is Winnipeg any different? Any other thriving city has downtown living."
The ground floor of the renovated Avenue Building, a former six-storey office building, will be used for commercial space which Hofer said he did not see any problem filling. The rooftop of the building will have a patio to be shared by all tenants.
Hofer made his comments as both the province and city announced their participation in the $8.5 million project.
Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz said the Hofers are being given $676,000 in civic and provincial Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) grants, an additional provincial grant of $575,000 and a city grant of $800,000.
The Hofers renovated a 104-year-old former warehouse at 230 Princess St. last year, converting it into apartments and commercial space.
It's now call the now called The Edge on Princess and it's 100 per cent occupied.
"These projects, it takes a lot of passion," Hofer said. "You have to care about them and love them and we do."