Murray McNeill

  • Authentic Italian in the Exchange

    An Italian restaurateur has moved halfway around the world to open a new restaurant and lounge in Winnipeg's East Exchange District. Safwat Bakhit, who owns two restaurants in Venice and one in his native Egypt -- moved to Winnipeg in the summer to open a restaurant and lounge on the main floor of the 104-year-old former Great-West Life Building at 177 Lombard Ave.
  • Long-awaited projects underway

    Considerable progress is finally being made on two long-awaited new developments -- a high-profile downtown condominium tower and the conversion of an old cookie factory on Notre Dame Avenue into a one-stop shop for specialized services for special-needs children and youth. The $34-million D Condo project at 390 Assiniboine Ave. is arguably the better-known of the two projects. Work is well underway on the five-storey parkade, which will serve as the base for the 91-unit, 19-storey condo tower.
  • Commercial investment comeback

    It's shaping up to be a strong finish for what started out as a slow year for sales of investment properties in Winnipeg. Only $188 million worth of deals were completed during the first nine months of the year, data compiled by the Winnipeg office of Colliers International show.
  • Sunstone spreads wings to suburbs

    Its focus may have shifted back to the suburbs, but one of the Exchange District's most active developers in recent years isn't turning its back on downtown. The head of Sunstone Resort Communities, which built the Sky Waterfront Condominiums and the Mere Boutique Hotel/Cibo Waterfront Café on Waterfront Drive, says it would gladly tackle another downtown condo project if the right opportunity comes along.
  • Blocks over stocks

    The turmoil on the stock markets has a growing number of nervous investors turning to apartment blocks as a less risky investment, a local real estate industry official says. "It's slow and steady wins the race," said Rob Preteau, an accredited real estate appraiser with the Winnipeg office of Colliers International. "(Investing in apartment buildings) is not exciting, but it's probably the best thing to do."
  • Downtown's new Main attraction

    Two Winnipeg developers have come up with a plan for bringing life to a long vacant, century-old south Main Street office building. Instead of office space, Mark and Shelley Buleziuk plan to convert most of the five-storey Scott Block at 272 Main St. into micro-apartments ranging in size from 400 to 600 square feet.
  • Kitchen with a social conscience

    Another new restaurant/lounge has opened in downtown Winnipeg, this time on Portage Avenue. The 100-seat The Planit Restaurant and Lounge opened on the weekend at 285 Portage Ave. (on the north side of the street a few doors west of Smith Street).
  • Winnipeg landscape shifting

    Last week's shakeup in the local commercial real estate sector -- in which two firms merged and another cut its ties with an industry giant -- are isolated events and not part of a new trend, industry officials say. Winnipeg's Chartier family got the ball rolling when it revealed it was changing the name of its real estate firm to Capital Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., and would no longer be the local affiliate for CBRE Canada.
  • Breathing new life into St. B

    A string of new infill developments is helping bring new life to two of St. Boniface's oldest commercial strips: Marion and Goulet. The most recent developments include five infill projects on Marion Street and one on Goulet Street.
  • Kiosks reminiscent of Old St. B

    Three seasonal kiosks designed to look like horse-drawn trams from the early 1900s are back for the summer on the Esplanade Riel bridge. The kiosks, which will operate until the end of the Labour Day long weekend in September, are the brainchild of Enterprises Riel, the economic development agency for the local French community. One serves as a tourist information centre, and the other two are food kiosks.
  • North River Heights site available to buyers in June

    Lots go on sale next month for a new development of infill housing in River Heights that's not only unusual in and of itself, but the way the lots will be sold is also unique. One of the co-developers of the 30-home development, which is being built on the former Sir John Franklin school property, believes it's the first major infill development involving detached, single-family homes in River Heights in at least a half-century.
  • Pioneering commercial condos

    Commercial condominiums have been slow to catch on in Winnipeg, but that isn't stopping one local developer from plowing ahead with a new development on the eastern outskirts of the city. Deacon's Corner Development Ltd., which includes the Winnipeg office of DTZ Winnipeg and several private investors, is starting work on a new 18-unit development at Deacon's Corner, which is located at the corner of the Trans-Canada Highway and Provincial Road 207.
  • New condos planned for Crestview

    A neighbourhood with one of the oldest demographics in the city -- Crestview -- may soon be getting what's touted as its first new condominium development. Officials at Winnipeg-based TFG Lakewood Developments hope to begin construction this fall on a three-phase, 150-unit condo development at the corner of Sturgeon Road and Saskatchewan Avenue.
  • North End developer pulls out after 'crime wave' spurs second thoughts

    A local developer who buys older properties and fixes them up is writing off the older part of the North End after one of his refurbished homes was set on fire, another was stripped down to the bare walls, and a third was tagged with graffiti -- all in the same week. "Last week was a tough week, I'll tell you that," Stefan Aarnio, owner and founder of Archangel Asset Management Ltd. and head of the Manitoba Real Estate Investors Association, said in an interview. "There's like a crime wave or something going through some of my houses."
  • Winnipeg retail real estate market healthy despite major store closures, experts say

    A rash of store closings is expected to push Winnipeg's overall retail vacancy rate to its highest level in more than a dozen years, but local industry officials say there's no cause for alarm. The author of the Johnson Report -- a twice-a-year report on vacant rates in office, retail, industrial and investment properties in Winnipeg -- says the closure of four big-box Target stores and two Future Shop outlets will likely push Winnipeg's overall retail vacancy rate above five per cent for the first time since 2002.
  • Apartment unit in Village firm’s latest success

    A LOCAL real estate firm is trying to carve out a niche for itself as a developer of infill rental properties, with one new apartment project nearing completion in Osborne Village and two more in the works. Progressive Real Estate is about a month away from completing a 15-unit, three-storey, walk-up apartment building on an infill lot at 320 Stradbrook Ave.
  • Building a new partnership

    Two Winnipeg companies have joined forces to acquire and redevelop an office building in southwest Winnipeg and are also interested in purchasing other commercial buildings in the city. The Ventura Group of Companies and Westland Construction Ltd. have jointly purchased the FWS Group of Companies building at 475 Dovercourt Dr. for an undisclosed sum and plan to move their own offices into the 19,537-square-foot structure later this year.
  • Century-old candy factory in Exchange District set to finally become housing

    A Victoria developer has set out to accomplish what several other developers were unable to do -- convert a century-old former candy factory in the East Exchange District into a residential complex. Alston Properties has already gutted the 109-year-old Galpern Building at 165 McDermot Ave., and is poised to begin converting the six-storey heritage building into 30 one-bedroom rental apartments and four two-bedroom townhouse units.
  • Stonewall housing project in jeopardy

    A $30-million development that would see more than 600 new homes built in Stonewall may be in jeopardy because of an 11th-hour disagreement between the developer and the town's new mayor and council. At the heart of the dispute between the town and Winnipeg-based Ventura Land Company Ltd. is what kind of lot fees Ventura should pay the town over the course of its nine-phase Quarry Ridge Park development, which could take up to 20 years to complete.
  • Boom on Broadway

    A growing cluster of restaurants and coffee shops is emerging along Broadway, one of Winnipeg's most picturesque downtown streets. With the opening of a new sandwich deli last month -- Nick's on Broadway -- and the opening next month of a new coffee/beer/wine bar -- Fools & Horses -- there will be at least a dozen eateries on or just off Broadway between Main and Osborne streets.
  • 2014 big year for investments

    It was a record-smashing year for sales of investment properties in Winnipeg in 2014. Preliminary year-end numbers compiled by Colliers International show nearly $1 billion worth of properties -- $972 million to be exact -- changed hands last year in the city.
  • New infill condos going up

    A group of local developers is about to launch two new infill condominium projects in the city, one in the Wolseley area and the other in the Maples. One of their projects is a three-storey, nine-unit condo complex, called Urban Glo, which will be built on two infill lots on Picardy Place, just south of the intersection of Portage Avenue and Broadway.
  • Real estate investment trust giving itself a boost of green

    Artis Real Estate Investment Trust is getting greener. The Winnipeg-based REIT is in the midst of upgrading most of the 65 office buildings in its North American property portfolio to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. That includes eight of the nine properties it owns here.
  • Nordik Group's $11-million Thermëa spa opens Jan. 15

    It's being billed as a spa unlike any other in the city, featuring year-round outdoor pools and hot tubs, an outdoor waterfall, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and a series of cedar saunas and steam rooms, connected by heated outdoor paths. When Nordik Group's $11-million Thermëa spa opens Jan. 15 on the city-owned Crescent Drive Golf Course, it will also be the latest addition to Winnipeg's growing list of world-class tourist attractions, said one local tourism industry official.
  • First fashion boutique on Waterfront

    Waterfront Drive has its first fashion boutique. Flaunt Boutique, a higher-end women's fashions outlet, opened earlier this month in the last vacant commercial unit in the Excelsior condominium complex at 270 Waterfront Dr.


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