Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City set to seize derelict hotel

Exchange District site should lure eager investors

  • Print

The city is poised to seize the derelict St. Charles Hotel, which will uncork pent-up interest from developers, the head of Heritage Winnipeg hopes.

Cindy Tugwell said the Exchange District hotel is structurally sound, in a great location and has nearby parking.

"I really don't think that building is going to struggle with a developer," said Tugwell, who has already fielded several calls from builders interested in renovating the 100-year-old hotel.

Monday marks the beginning of the end of the five-year saga of the St. Charles Hotel. That's the day councillors on the downtown development committee will vote whether to take title to the building under the vacant and derelict building bylaw.

'I really don't think that building is going to struggle with a developer' -- Heritage Winnipeg's Cindy Tugwell

The move, a radical one in which the city takes title without compensation, comes after years of inspections, orders, hearings, extensions and delays as owner Ken Zaifman, a well-known immigration lawyer, tried to transform the St. Charles into a boutique hotel.

City inspectors visited the hotel last month and discovered a leaky, derelict mess.

The real concern is Zaifman's inability during the last two years to install a sprinkler system mandated by the bylaw.

If councillors vote to take title to the hotel, city staff suggests issuing a call for proposals within three months.

Any proposal will have a deadline for construction and will likely involve CentreVenture, the downtown development agency.

The hotel, located at what should be an attractive entrance to the historic Exchange District, is bounded by an empty lot where a fire levelled a heritage building last year. Just north is the legendary Royal Albert Arms, still struggling after reopening in March amid controversy over the criminal background of one of its owners.

"That area is ripe for development," said Downtown development chairman Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas).

CentreVenture would not comment Thursday, but has said in the past it is ready to step in to redevelop the site if the city takes possession of the hotel.

The agency already has a high-level plan for Albert Street. Developers interested in the property have been in limbo, waiting for the city to seize the building and start fresh on redevelopment proposals.

Under the derelict building bylaw, the city has already taken title to large commercial buildings, including apartment complexes and rooming houses.

Zaifman did not return calls Thursday.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2013 B1

History

Updated on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 6:30 AM CDT: replaces photo

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

Red River flooding north of Selkik at McIvor Lane

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the suspensions levied against three bantam hockey players for abusing game officials?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google