Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Permit granted to demolish Shanghai Restaurant

  • Print

City council gave a non-profit group the green light to demolish one of Winnipeg’s oldest downtown buildings even though it has no immediate plans to replace it with a seniors complex.

In 2010, the Chinatown Development Corp. sought permission to demolish the Coronation Block, an 140-year-old building which once served as a temporary city hall and housed the Shanghai Restaurant on the main floor since the 1940s. The non-profit wanted to operate a surface parking lot on the site and eventually turn it into an assisted-living seniors complex.

The city did not want a surface parking lot on the site and refused to allow the building to be demolished without a formal plan to build the seniors residence.

That changed on Wednesday, when the majority of council voted to give the Chinatown Development Corp. a permit to demolish the structure and maintain the site as a vacant, landscaped lot.

Mayor Sam Katz said the group plans to make the site a much-needed park as they continue discussing funding for the seniors complex with various levels of government. He said the area is in need of more green space, and the non-profit group plans to include decorative fencing or bollards to prevent cars from parking on the site.

Katz and other members of council said it currently costs the non-profit group between $35,00 and $40,000 a year to maintain the property.

"Old doesn’t necessarily mean good. From my point of view right now, spending $40,000 a year for a building that cannot be converted, and to turn it into housing down the road is extremely positive," Katz said following Wednesday’s council meeting. "In the meantime it will be a passive park in an area that probably needs green space more than most in the city of Winnipeg."

Council voted 13-3 to approve the plan. Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge), Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) voted against it.

Heritage Winnipeg’s Cindy Tugwell urged council not to grant the demolition permit until the corporation comes forward with a redevelopment plan. She said it sends the wrong message to developers, noting it took years and the right building owner to redevelop heritage sites such as the Avenue building or Kelly House.

"It is extremely historic," Tugwell said. "It is one of the oldest buildings in the downtown."

On the floor of council, Gerbasi said the city should stick to its 2010 decision not to allow the block to be demolished before there is a formal plan for the site. She said the economy or finances could change, and the city should not take out a building until a solid plan is ready to go.

"Some of us had a thread of hope that if for some reason the project doesn’t happen, maybe there would be a way to save the building," Gerbasi said after the council vote, noting it’s unfortunate heritage was pitted against housing. "Now that’s been lost."

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

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

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Election Edition

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • 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
  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google