Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Our Little Italy going upscale

Developer involved in 13 condo projects

  • Print
Drawing of condo units planned for 275 Hugo St.

Enlarge Image

Drawing of condo units planned for 275 Hugo St.

Ernie Walter wants to see the Little Italy neighbourhood around Corydon Avenue turn into Winnipeg's version of Toronto's Yorkville, Edmonton's Whyte Avenue or Calgary's Kensington Village.

The architect/developer is involved in no fewer than 13 infill condo projects representing about 125 luxury condos in a neighbourhood that has the classic features of a mature urban residential setting and has also witnessed the evolution of a bustling restaurant and nightlife component.

Walter and his son, Yaron, his partner at Studio Walter/Walter International, have a vision of creating a "signature" neighbourhood in the city.

"Little Italy is a place where you can walk to work, walk safely at night, visit friends on the avenue," Ernie Walter said.

"What does it mean to the city to have a signature (neighbourhood)? It means a lot. It brings Winnipeg into the league of other cities."

Walter's concept is like a dream for the Corydon Avenue Business Improvement Zone, of which he is a board member.

Craig Kitching, the board president, said it doesn't matter to them who the developers of these kinds of compact infill condos are. The important thing is they help regenerate the neighbourhood.

"We want to see the neighbourhood stay vibrant and alive," Kitching said. "As to who does the project, it's really not our concern."

The neighbourhood stewards do care about preventing the area from falling apart and making sure properties that become decrepit are updated, something that has not necessarily happened in some Winnipeg neighbourhoods.

"When we see an initiative to keep the neighbourhood vibrant and evolving, as opposed to deteriorating so that homes are only worth the value of the land they're on, we feel that is a positive sign and we want to encourage an environment where we evolve and continue to grow rather than deteriorate," Kitching said.

The 13 projects Walter has on the go or in the works are tear-down jobs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

It's a risky venture building luxury condos at prices as high as $700,000-plus in a fairly immature condo market where homeowners have the mindset that single-family houses are affordable for all.

It's also an expensive proposition. Walter has dipped into the recent wave of wealthier immigrants to help raise the millions of dollars it's taken to acquire the properties he's developing.

So far, Walter says there is solid demand for the properties from across the demographic spectrum.

"The young two-degree families want to be here," he said. "And we have two people coming out of a Tuxedo bungalow. They want two storeys, a garage attached, a front yard that's maintenance-free and the ability to turn the keys over in September and head south."

The series of projects, branded ALTRO off Corydon, come in a variety of configurations from one-level main-floor units with private yards to luxury multilevel units with rooftop patios.

Though they are clearly not for everyone -- there is some opposition to gentrification of what has been an affordable neighbourhood -- the projects can provide a lower operating cost for condo owners, with a condo fee as little as $125 a month and almost a co-op attitude when it comes to property maintenance.

Kitching believes this style of housing development in the area is not such a radical idea.

"The irony is the neighborhood was very edgy at its inception," he said. "There was state-of-the-art housing back in the day. People may say they don't like this or that (about the Walter designs), but in a way, it's just bringing back what was here, maintaining the status quo with creative modern housing."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2013 B6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Best of Jets sound bites following Saturday's 2-1 loss to Ducks

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google