New residences in core?

Longboat says Centrepoint may include apartments or condos


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A new element -- residential units -- may be added to one of the most highly anticipated downtown developments in decades.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/02/2012 (4067 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A new element — residential units — may be added to one of the most highly anticipated downtown developments in decades.

A Longboat Development Corp. official confirmed Thursday the Winnipeg firm is thinking of adding an unspecified number of apartments or condominiums to its Centrepoint development, which will be built on the north side of Portage Avenue across from the MTS Centre.

The $75-million development will also see the construction of a 450-stall parkade and a five-storey office/retail complex, with a 14-storey boutique hotel on top, on the one-square-block piece of land bordered by Portage and Ellice avenues and Donald and Hargrave streets.

Longboat’s director of commercial development, Doug McKay, said a market study is underway to determine what type of residential units might be appropriate for the site. And talks are also underway with a local developer that has several successful multi-family projects under its belt.

He wouldn’t say where on the site the apartments or condos might be built, or how many there might be. But they wouldn’t be added to the top of the hotel.

He said they hope to make a decision within 30 to 45 days.

In the meantime, interior demolition work is already underway in two buildings on the site. Exterior demolition work will get underway later this month.

At least three buildings — the former A&B Sound building on Portage, the former Wild Planet building on Donald and the Norlyn Building on Hargrave — will be razed to make way for the new development.

McKay said Longboat is still determining which building to demolish first. He said the demolition work will take about two months to complete, and crews should begin pouring concrete piles for the new office/retail/hotel complex in March. The goal is still to complete the project by the fall of 2013.

The Longboat development will change the face of downtown Portage Avenue and is one of the centrepieces in the CentreVenture Development Corporation’s much-talked-about plan for creating a new sports, hospitality and entertainment district (SHED) in the heart of downtown Winnipeg.

Although CentreVenture has said it wants to see a combination of office, hotel, retail and residential developments within the SHED, there was no mention of a residential component for the Longboat project when it was first unveiled last summer.

However, McKay said Thursday “it was always something we hoped would be achievable. And as the parkade plans developed, we saw there was the capacity on the site to add the necessary services to support residential use.”

He said they still hope to include retailers on the ground level of the parkade. Asked if the parkade will be built on the Norlyn Building site, McKay said those plans “are still in development.”

He confirmed one restaurant tenant has been signed up for the main floor of the office/retail/hotel complex, and that talks are ongoing with several others. All of them would be new entrants to the Winnipeg market, but McKay declined to disclose their names.

He said the company is still trying to figure out a way to include all or a portion of the historic Mitchell Copp Building on Portage into the design for the new office/retail/hotel complex, which will be built on the adjoining A&B Sound and Wild Planet sites.

“(That) has been the focus of considerable design and engineering efforts.”

And he confirmed there are no plans to build either an overhead skywalk or an underground tunnel to connect the new complex to the MTS Centre.

CentreVenture president and CEO Ross McGowan said the corporation would like to see apartments or condos included in the Longboat development, but that it’s not involved in the decision-making process.

He also said it’s possible the project could qualify for a assistance under the $40-million city-provincial downtown residential grants program.

If Longboat opts to include apartments or condos in its development, it would be the second major residential project for the north side of downtown Portage Avenue. Several blocks to the east, the former Avenue and Hample office buildings are being converted into 70 new apartments. The first tenants are expected to move in at the end of this month.

Anatomy of a downtown development

HERE are the key elements in the Longboat Development Corporation’s Centrepoint development project which was announced last summer:







A $30-million, five-storey, 100,000-square-foot office/retail complex that will face onto Portage Avenue and include 20,000 square feet of retail space — likely two restaurants — on the main floor, and 80,000 square feet of office space on the other four floors. Architecture/engineering firm Stantec has already agreed to be the anchor tenant in the office building.

A $35-million, ALT Hotel to be developed by Quebec’s Groupe Germain Hospitality. The boutique hotel will be about 14 storeys high, with 154 rooms, and will be built on top of the office/retail complex.





A $20-million, 450-stall parkade to be built adjacent and behind the office/retail/hotel complex, likely facing onto Hargrave Street.







A possible residential component, with an unspecified number of either apartments or condominiums.


— source: Longboat Development Corp.

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