It’s about a year later than was planned, but construction is about to start on a new apartment and commercial complex in West Broadway.
The four-storey, 50,000-square-foot project, which was unveiled in October 2015, is being built on the southeast corner of Maryland Street and Westminster Avenue.
The developer — Chanden Homes Ltd. of Lorette — had hoped to start construction last spring and to have it competed by this spring. But owner Leon Reimer said it took longer than expected to finalize design plans for the project, which will include about 12,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space and 44 one-, two- and three-bedroom rental apartments, including six suites that are wheelchair accessible.
Reimer said three of the five lots on which the complex will be built have houses on them. They’ll be demolished before the end of this month, with construction starting right after that. The project will take about 12 months to complete, he said.
The Chanden Homes complex, officially called 710 Westminster Ave., is one of three new mixed-use buildings being built on Maryland from Westminster to Wolseley avenues.
One of the others — a three-storey, 11-unit apartment complex being developed by Winnipeg’s Ranjjan Development Corp. — is located across the street from the 710 Westminster Ave. project.
The other — a four-storey, nine-unit condo complex being co-developed by Ranjjan and Winnipeg’s Vishin Developments — is located on the northwest corner of Maryland and Wolseley Avenue.
The Ranjjan apartment building had to be rebuilt after a fire last year destroyed the partly completed structure. Ranjjan owner Rocky Kalsi could not be reached for comment about when the complex will be completed.
A spokesman for Vishin Developments said the condo project at Maryland and Wolseley, called 54 Maryland, is nearly finished. He said the condos have been sold, including the main-floor commercial unit. He said he didn’t have permission to disclose who bought it, but that it’s an office tenant.
Shindico Realty Inc. is marketing the 6,000 sq. ft. of office space in the Chanden Homes building. Leasing agent Ken Jones said he’s optimistic they’ll find tenants for the space, which will be located on the second floor on the Westminster side of the L-shaped building.
"We’ve got quite a number of interested people, especially on the retail side, because it is so rejuvenated around there," Jones said. "You look at Sherbrook (Street) and what’s going on in the area, and there’s also the (new) building right across the street. So it’s all good things."
Jones said the space would be ideal for doctors’ offices or other medical-related tenants because it’s close to the Misericordia Health Centre.
Reimer said he’s negotiating with three parties, one of them a restaurant operator, who are interested in leasing part of the main floor.
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Another young entrepreneur is putting roots downtown.
Motio Massage Therapy owner Jordan Schimnowski has signed a new multi-year lease with the Cityplace Shopping Centre after completing a three-month trial period through the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone’s Launch It! Retail Incubator and Pop-Up program.
The program provides young entrepreneurs with rent-free space in the downtown for three months, as well as mentoring and other support services, so they can test the market and see if a downtown bricks-and-mortar store is a viable option for their business. In Schimnowski’s case, the answer was a resounding "yes."
Thanks in part to the high volume of foot traffic in the Cityplace mall, Schimnowksi said he gained more than 100 new clients in the three months he has been there. That convinced him his business could generate enough income to afford a downtown-mall location, so he just signed a multi-year lease with Cityplace.
Tineke de Jong, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s director of marketing, events and communications, said that’s the kind of outcome BIZ officials are hoping for with Launch It! participants. She said about a third of the approximately 15 that have gone through the program so far ended up leasing storefronts in the downtown. Another one quarter of them found space elsewhere in the city, and the rest concluded a storefront location wasn’t a viable option for their business at this point.
Schimnowski was one of two participants in the first intake of this year’s Launch It! program. De Jong said the other — Richard Harzing of VanJohan for Men — will be leaving his Cityplace space at the end of April. She said Harzing hasn’t decided yet where he’ll go from there.
In the meantime, another program participant — One Nation Exchange — is just beginning its three-month trial period. It will also have a storefront space on the main floor of the Cityplace mall.
One Nation Exchange is a non-profit social enterprise focused on creating opportunities for intercultural exchange, training and employment for local First Nations women and new immigrant and refugee mothers. The enterprise’s members began making canvas carrying bags and other hand-crafted items to create a source of income for their families. The Cityplace storefront will provide them with a place to show how their products are made and to sell their goods to the public.
DeJong said the BIZ is now seeking applicants for the program’s summer intake, which will run from July to the end of September.