Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

RRC hub late, over budget

City's oldest skyscraper proves costly to redevelop

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Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, formerly the Union Bank Tower, on Main Street.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, formerly the Union Bank Tower, on Main Street. Photo Store

THE Exchange District's most ambitious redevelopment project was nearly a year late and is now $10 million over budget.

Classes began in January in the old Union Bank Tower on Main Street, now the hub of Red River College's culinary arts, hotel and tourism management programs. It also contains a student residence and two public restaurants.

The project was initially slated to open in the spring 2012. The preliminary price tag was $35 million, but the final bill now stands at $45 million, said RRC spokeswoman Kim Jasper.

Jasper said a combination of project add-ons and some unexpected costs associated with Winnipeg's oldest skyscraper sent the project over budget.

"There were a lot of challenges with a 100-year-old building that sat empty for 17 years," Jasper said.

The exterior of the brick building needed an extra $1 million in repairs. Engineers had to grapple with two different foundations and a crooked elevator shaft. The original plan did not include landscaping for the small park next door or several floors of student residences, which added $5 million to the cost.

The project, in the works for four years and now known as the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, has been hailed as a step toward creating a critical mass of residential units in The Exchange, and as an innovative reuse of a dilapidated heritage building.

CentreVenture and the federal and provincial governments contributed a total of $19 million to the project. Jasper said the extra $10 million will be covered through private donations and corporate naming opportunities and won't hinder any of the college's other building projects.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2013 B1

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