Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City mulls $660,000 grant for Portage Avenue tower

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The City of Winnipeg plans to spend $660,000 on the $75-million hotel and office complex planned for the north side of Portage Avenue, opposite the MTS Centre.

This morning, Mayor Sam Katz's inner circle will consider a heritage grant to preserve the facade of the 105-year-old Mitchell-Copp Building, which is slated to be partly demolished as part of the Longboat Development Corporation's plans to redevelop the city block bounded by Portage and Ellice avenues and Donald and Hargrave streets.

A 12-storey ALT hotel, new offices for consulting firm Stantec and a parkade are planned for five parcels of land in the block. The Forks-North Portage Partnership plans to sell the Mitchell-Copp Building to Longboat at "fair market value" as part of the project.

In a report to city council's executive policy committee, Winnipeg economic development manager Barry Thorgrimson calls the $660,000 grant "a reasonable public investment to ensure one of our more recognizable and historically relevant facades along Portage Avenue is preserved and incorporated into a new multimillion-dollar development."

Previously, downtown development agency CentreVenture described the project as a private-sector development. The Mitchell-Copp Building has largely sat vacant since 1981.

Vacant plot to become housing

A Winnipeg church wants to build affordable apartments for immigrants and refugees on what's now a vacant plot of inner-city land.

Today, council's executive policy committee will consider a plan to rezone a vacant plot at 525 William Ave. to make way for a seven-storey apartment building geared toward newcomers to Winnipeg.

The building will house 38 affordable apartments, a multi-purpose room with a kitchen and classroom, a rooftop garden and a patio for residents. Living Gospel Church, located next to the proposed facility, is leading the project, with the support of local immigrant and refugee community groups.

Campaign calls part of polling tab

Robo-calls made last year as part of Sam Katz's re-election campaign were included in the money spent on polling for the mayor, his official agent said.

Last week, the city released audited financial statements of candidates registered in last fall's civic election. The Katz campaign only listed $346 worth of telephone bills.

The mayor's robo-calls were included in the $45,655 tab for polling, official agent Jason McCrae-King said.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca jen.skerrit@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2011 B3

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