The once-sleepy community of St. Norbert is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, with five multi-family housing projects either completed, under construction, or about to get underway, and more in the works.
Sherwood Developments kicked things off four years ago with the completion of its appropriately named Renaissance condominium complex at 3420 Pembina Hwy.
That was soon followed by a four-storey apartment block -- the Grandmonde Apartments at 3299 Pembina -- and a 37-unit affordable rental-housing complex -- Place La Charette at 3389 Pembina.
And now those three will soon be joined by two other condo developments -- the 30-unit Chateau Versailles Condominiums under construction at 3373 Pembina and the 73-unit Allure Condominiums at 3411 Pembina. Excavation work is scheduled to get underway next month for the Allure, and the project should be completed sometime next summer.
"There's a lot of exciting stuff going on right now," said Norm Gousseau, CEO of Enterprises Riel, the economic-development agency for the bilingual district of Winnipeg, which includes St. Boniface, St. Vital and St. Norbert.
"It has been ripe (for new multi-family development) for a long time," Gousseau said, noting there hadn't been any new condos built in St. Norbert since the late 1970s or early 1980s, when the South of the Border project was completed.
"And when the first one (the Renaissance) came up and sold very quickly, that showed there was some potential there," he said, "and that got the ball rolling."
The Allure Condominiums are being developed by Winnipeg's Irwin Homes Ltd. Irwin is the second developer to take a run at developing the site, which is on the west side of Pembina across from the St. Norbert Farmers' Market. The first developer planned to built a hotel/condo complex, but later had a change of heart and sold the property to Irwin.
Irwin owner Andrew Koop said the recent flurry of activity was one of the reasons he bought the property.
"St. Norbert is a nice, growing community. A lot of good things are going on there," he said. "And I think the location is great because you have river views without the river price tag."
Koop said he's so impressed with St. Norbert's potential for further growth, he and two partners have purchased the riverside property at 3270 Pembina with the intention of building a 40- to 50-unit condo complex there within the next couple of years.
Gousseau said he's also heard of two or three other multi-family-residential projects being contemplated for the next few years. And the hope is all of the new residential development will lead to some new commercial development in St. Norbert.
The apartment-style Allure condos will be two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 748 square feet to 1,171 square feet.
Powell Property Group's David Powell, who is the marketing agent for the units, said the one- bedroom units are priced at between $214,900 and $224,900, and the two-bedroom units at between $269,900 and $309,900.
Powell said they kept most of the units under $300,000 to appeal to a broad range of buyers, including first-timers, young professionals and empty-nesters looking for a lifestyle change.
He and Koop said they also expect some to be purchased by parents who have children attending the nearby University of Manitoba. Their children can live in them until they're done university, then they can either rent them to someone else, or sell them.
Koop and the project's architect -- Otto Cheng, of Otto Cheng Architect Inc. -- worked closely with Gousseau to ensure the Allure complex complied with the new design guidelines for St. Norbert.
They said the three-year-old guidelines say new buildings should fit in with surrounding neighbourhood and should include features that reflect the community's French culture and heritage. So the exterior of the Allure boasts a number of French architecture elements, including french-pane windows, balconies with wrought-iron detailing, sconces, cornices and mock chimneys.
"It's kind of regal and grandeur-looking building," Cheng added.
The L-shaped building will also be set well back from the front sidewalk, with the parking lot hidden from view at the rear of the complex.
"They don't want people walking by feeling out of scale with the building," Cheng said. "And they don't want you to see a sea of cars before you see the building."
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail, or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.