Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City's tallest skyscraper rebranded 201 Portage

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THE owners of Winnipeg's tallest skyscraper want to cut its ties to the past and start fresh.

So, the building that used to be known as TD Centre, Canwest Global Place and Canwest Place over the past couple of decades has been officially rechristened 201 Portage.

Terry Orsulak, senior property manager at Creswin Properties, said it wanted to avoid the confusion that has plagued its neighbour across the street. The former Commodity Exchange Building has also been called the Trizec Building for years -- even though that was never its name. Now it goes by 360 Main Street.

"We want to purge the old entity and focus on the new identification that will be the future," he said.

Orsulak said Creswin opted to use the address rather than a generic name, such as Portage Tower, because it wanted a name with "staying power."

To drive the point home, Creswin brought out an employee dressed as Father Time, a bearded old man wearing a sash bearing all of the old monikers, to a ceremony Monday in its courtyard at Portage and Main. He presented a giant key for the building to a baby -- who represented the future -- who was wearing a 201 Portage sash.

The building has been called 201 Portage since last November, when the bankruptcy of Canwest nullified the licensing agreement between it and Creswin.

Orsulak says some people will continue to call the building by its former names but by supporting the rebranding in its advertising and promotional material, the hope is those monikers will fade from memory.

After churning through three names in short order, Derrick Coupland, a partner at Blacksheep Strategy, a branding consultancy, agreed with the decision to go with the address as the new name.

"(The name changes) aren't good for the prestige of the building, a marquee building at the corner of Portage and Main. I think it's a good idea to go with something fairly straightforward," he said.

Canwest's bankruptcy represents the kind of risk that comes with selling naming rights to a building, he said.

Coupland agreed with Creswin's strategy of offering signage rights on the top of the building as a way to earn revenue.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

The swankiest office space between Calgary and Toronto could soon have a net tenant.

Terry Orsulak, senior property manager at Creswin Properties, said it is currently working on a couple of deals for the space, the long-time home to Canwest Global Communications, the one-time media giant that went out of business last year.

The 22,000 square feet of space on the 30th, 31st and 32nd floors features a glassed-in boardroom, a 360-degree view of the city and are connected by a spiral staircase.

Orsulak said Creswin's intention is to lease the space out to a single company.

"That makes the most sense from our perspective and the prosects we're marketing to," he said.

It would also eliminate the need for extensive renovations to eliminate the connectivity between the three floors.

Orsulak said Creswin has had discussions with local and national companies about the space and he hopes to finalize a deal before the end of the year.

The space has been completely empty since last November when Canwest's newspaper and television assets were sold off. All that remains is the big-screen television in former CEO Leonard Asper's office, name plates for rooms, such as the Peter Liba boardroom, which was named after the former company director and lieutenant governor of Manitoba before his death, and corporate mantras painted on the panes of the glassed boardroom, such as "Never do a little deal," "Eat the apples but never the tree," and "Listen to everyone, from the janitor to the chairman."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2011 A2

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