Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Vacant Portage Avenue lot sees its rebirth

  • Print

A couple of local entrepreneurs are hoping to breathe new life into a vacant section of Portage Avenue storefront property that was destroyed by fire in 2009.

Business owners Rudy Torres and John Georgopoulos anticipate working through the winter to finish up a 6,000-sq. ft space currently up for lease at 1851 Portage Ave. near Roseberry Street.

"It’s a good spot, a good location and a good investment," said Georgopoulos, a Westwood resident who owns other small commercial properties in St. James.

On May 20, 2009, a fire caused $3 million in damage to a series of businesses in the 1800 and 1900 blocks on the north side of Portage, including a kick-boxing school and antique shop.

The blaze was classified an arson, but no arrests were ever made, police confirmed.

Torres and Georgopoulos took over the lot, which has been boarded up since, at the beginning of August. The roof of the building should be in place by mid-November, with crews finishing up the interior over the winter.

The two are hoping to attract a medical clinic or professional offices to the space, which will open in spring, Torres said.

"If we can get one tenant in there, like a walk-in clinic and a pharmacy, it would be fantastic," said Torres, who lives in River Heights.

The space will include a 5,000-sq. ft basement along with 22 parking stalls at the back of the building, Torres said.

Constance Menzies, owner of the neighbouring Chocolatier Constance Popp, said she’s relieved to see the space being redeveloped.

Menzies said she has put a significant amount of money into gutting and redeveloping her building since opening five years ago, noting it too suffered damaged during the blaze.

"We’ve improved the space and got the ball rolling," said Menzies, who lives in St. James.

"We were hoping the rest around us would follow suit, and they have. It’s a good thing."

Menzies admitted the section of Portage Avenue isn’t a lucrative one for boutique shops such as hers, even though she has become one of the go-to chocolatiers in Manitoba.

She hopes the new development becomes home to a complimentary business, like a flower shop.

"There’s not a lot of walk-by traffic (around here)," she said, noting she will be opening a second location with a florist in the Richardson Centre Concourse on Nov. 15.


matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

Facebook.com/TheMetroWPG
Twitter: @metroWPG

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

This Just In Twitter bird

  • HeraldWPG

    @HeraldWPG: East Kildonan correspondent Evan Comstock looks into a recent health fair held at Good Neighbours ow.ly/vPa4P #cbn 12:01 pm on Apr 19

Readers‘ Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

Make your choice in the Canstar Community News‘ Best of Winnipeg Readers‘ Choice Awards

Vote Now

Poll

Do you think cameras should be allowed in Manitoba courtrooms?

View Results

View Related Story