Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Portage Place to convert empty shops

Space marketed for office use

  • Print

Portage Place Shopping Centre is converting some of its retail units to office space in a bid to attract new tenants and reduce its overall vacancy rate.

Mall manager Dave Stone said in an interview the retail space in the second-floor west wing of the downtown mall is now being marketed as office space by Avison Young Commercial Real Estate.

Linda Capar, an office leasing specialist with the real estate firm, said 13 units comprising about 15,000 square feet are being converted. The units range from 300 to 7,000 square feet in size.

Although there are other areas of office space in the mall, the west wing, which stretches from the Kennedy Street courtyard to the entrance to One Canada Place (the Investors Group headquarters), has been retail space since the 497,561-square-foot complex opened in 1987.

But with the mall's vacancy rate hovering at around 15 per cent, Stone said it was time to look at alternative uses for the space.

Capar said the mall's central location and its connection to the downtown skywalk system make the second-floor west-wing space well suited for professional or medical offices -- things like doctor, lawyer or dentist's offices -- and training or service centres.

"We've got a couple of proposals out there after receiving expressions of interest," she said. "I'm hoping that before the end of the year we'll have some closed deals we can announce."

Stone said last year's recession was hard on Portage Place, with three notable retail tenants -- Carlton Cards, Smart Set and Barnes and Castle -- closing since last summer, when the vacancy rate was still about eight per cent.

The mall also still hasn't found replacement tenants for two of its longest-standing vacancies -- the former McNally Robinson book store on the main floor and the former Giselle's salon on the second floor. Those two units alone account for nearly 12,000 of the 15,000 square feet of vacant space.

Stone said he'd still love to see another book store, a grocery store, or a chain restaurant move into the 8,000-square-foot McNally space, which has been empty since 2007. Although there have been preliminary talks with a few prospective tenants, there's nothing close to a deal at the moment.

"The interest is there, but the timing needs to be right for all these things to come together. We know it's going to happen, it's just a matter of timing."

Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone, said converting some of its retail space to office use is a good move for Portage Place because it has too much retail space for the size of its target market, which is mainly downtown residents, workers and event-goers.

"I think it's a strategic thing and a smart thing for them to do," he said.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2010 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

    No

  • 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Humans of the Holidays (in Winnipeg)

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

With the Canadian junior team off to such a great start, will you be watching the World junior hockey championship?

View Results

Ads by Google