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Transcona transformation

Mixed-use residential development to replace unsightly city yard

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An illustration of the complete Park City Plaza, to be built on 16 hectares of Transcona land now housing a messy Public Works yard. Expressions of interest will be issued in the fall.

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An illustration of the complete Park City Plaza, to be built on 16 hectares of Transcona land now housing a messy Public Works yard. Expressions of interest will be issued in the fall.

Plans are in place to turn a 16-hectare piece of land in Transcona that's been a messy Public Works yard for many years into a brand-new mixed-use residential development including the new home of the Transcona library.

With Public Works scheduled to move to its new facility in Elmwood this summer, the triangle-shaped property bounded by Ravelston Avenue West, Plessis Road and the Central Manitoba Railway Pine Falls rail line -- that's already owned by the city -- is an ideal redevelopment site.

It's one of 11 major redevelopment sites identified in the city's long-term planning blueprint.

Called Park City Plaza, the plan calls for high-density residential development -- more than 1,100 residential units -- with some retail potential at the street level.

With an average assessed value at $225,000 per unit, it will generate about $1.3 million per year in new property tax revenue for the city.

Council has already budgeted for a new 4,500-square-foot library replacing the existing 40-year-old Transcona library on Victoria Avenue W., with construction to start in 2014 for opening in 2015.

There are also discussions underway to build a new 7,500-square-foot YM/YWCA.

"There is a huge demand for better recreational in the community and at the same time it will allow us to clean up the site," said Russ Wyatt, deputy mayor and councillor for Transcona. "This creates a great opportunity for multi-family housing that's badly needed in the area."

Park City Plaza is a transit-oriented development and would be included as part of the future vision of an eastern rapid transit line.

A public open house for the project is planned starting at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Canad Inns Transcona.

"The vacated Public Works site has tremendous potential to be redeveloped from underutilized land into a well-planned, sustainable community," Mayor Sam Katz said in prepared statement.

Wyatt said the city will look to re-zone the land from industrial to residential likely this summer, and a national call for expressions of interest for the mixed-use residential project will happen in the fall.

Wyatt said the city has had the redevelopment plan in the works for some time, spurred by the departure of Public Works.

Environmental testing was already done and remediation of the site is estimated to cost more than $8 million, mostly to clean up salt residue, Wyatt said.

That expense, as well as those related to water and sewage service for the parcel, means the project will not be without its risks.

"Because of the servicing costs, density is crucial to make the business case work," Wyatt said.

The plan calls for the extension of Kildare Avenue through the site, eventually creating a new east-west route connecting to Lagimodiere Boulevard.

The other redevelopment sites that are part of the city's Complete Communities strategy include the Fort Rouge Yards, Parker Lands and Grant Park Pavilions. All are earmarked for a mix of commercial and residential development.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2013 B4

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