Peguis First Nation has made another major investment in the Winnipeg market with the purchase of the former motor vehicles branch building on Portage Avenue.
The band said Friday it plans to renovate the 69,000-square-foot building at 1075 Portage Ave. to create office space for many of its community organizations and First Nations companies.
"Today is a momentous step of repatriation to our traditional lands in Treaty 1 territory," Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson said in a written statement. "The facility, which will be managed by Chief Peguis Investment Corporation, is a tremendous asset for our community and will generate our own source of revenue for years to come."
The band did not disclose how much it paid for the 1.4-hectare property, which includes a large parking lot.
The property had been owned by a group of local investors who purchased it from Manitoba Public Insurance after the provincial government merged motor vehicles branch operations with MPI.
CBRE Ltd.'s Peter Kaufmann, the listing agent for the property, said in a recent interview the owners originally planned to rent out the building.
"We had lots of people who were interested in leasing part of it, but they (the owners) wanted a single tenant," he explained.
Then Elaine Cowan, a commercial real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Preferred Real Estate, brought a group of Peguis officials for a tour of the building, Kaufmann said, and after the tour told him they'd rather buy it than rent it. So the owners ended up selling it to the band.
The acquisition is Peguis's second major investment/project in the Winnipeg market in the past year.
In December, it announced it has entered into a joint venture with the Manitoba Jockey Club to build a new commercial development on the jockey club's Assiniboia Downs property.