Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

$39M could add 70 years to PSB's life, official says

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A civic committee wants to spend $275,000 to decide whether spending another $39 million on an almost 50-year-old building is worth it.

Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, chairman of the downtown development, heritage and riverbank management committee, said Monday the committee is recommending hiring outside consultants to determine whether the soon-to-be-vacated Public Safety Building should be demolished, repurposed or developed from the ground up.

"The genesis of this cost analysis is because the police are moving out," Pagtakhan said. "At the end of the day, I'd like to see some mixed development on that site."

Barry Thorgrimson, the city's planning director, said if the city spends $39 million to fix the outside of the PSB and demolish the parkade, the building could last up to 70 years. The PSB was constructed in 1965. The city police headquarters is moving from the PSB to the former Canada Post building on Graham Avenue.

Thorgrimson said what the consultants' report would determine includes what city departments could move into the PSB, the cost, and how much parking is needed in the area.

He said if the decision is to keep the building and move other city staff there, it wouldn't have to be renovated to the same standards the police required.

"We wouldn't be bomb-proofing it if planners are in there," he said.

The city had to close the civic parkade last year after engineers determined it was structurally unstable and in danger of collapsing. The matter next goes to executive policy committee and then council.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2014 B2

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