Vacant lot on Main to be transformed into retail/office space

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ANOTHER small piece of the Main Street redevelopment puzzle has fallen into place.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2011 (4118 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ANOTHER small piece of the Main Street redevelopment puzzle has fallen into place.

A Winnipeg company has purchased a vacant lot just north of the redeveloped Bell Hotel and plans to build a three-storey retail/office building on the site.

The head of the city’s downtown development agency — CentreVenture Development Corp. — told about 300 people at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday the developer — JMT Holding Inc. — plans to put a pharmacy on the main floor and office space above.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A 4,000 square-foot building will be built on this vacant lot next to the Bell Hotel.

Ross McGowan said the project is the latest in a string of new developments that have unfolded over the last four or five years along Main between William Avenue and the CP Rail underpass.

The others include the new Centre for Youth Excellence that will be opening in January at Higgins Avenue and Main, the recent conversion of the former Bell Hotel into housing for the homeless, the Winnipeg Regional Healthy Authority office building just south of the Bell, the United Way building south of that, and redevelopment of the Union Bank at Main and William.

“Main Street is on its way,” McGowan told the business crowd, which gave him a sustained round of applause at the conclusion of his address. He said the next step is to attract more residential development to the area.

JMT Holdings is the property arm of Winnipeg’s JC Paving Ltd. Vice-president Tony Teixeira said this will be the seventh commercial building the company has built in Winnipeg over the last seven or eight years.

“We’re familiar with the commercial real estate market.”

Teixeira said a local pharmacist will be leasing all 4,000 square feet of space on the main floor. The store may also include a small sandwich shop.

He said JMT hasn’t lined up any office tenants yet, but isn’t concerned.

“We see a demand for office space in the downtown.”

Although crime has been a concern in the past in the Higgins and Main area, Teixeira said, “I think the WRHA building went a long way towards helping with that.”

And he predicted the Centre for Youth Excellence will help even more by drawing more vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

“There are a lot of good things happening in that area and I wanted to help keep that momentum going.”

McGowan also reviewed developments underway in the Exchange District, as well as CentreVenture’s plans for revitalizing downtown Portage Avenue.

He said the redeveloped Avenue Building on Portage will be welcoming its first residential tenants in December, and CentreVenture is close to completing its plans for a new Sports Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED) which will include the MTS Centre, the Winnipeg Convention Centre, the Burton Cummings and soon-to-be redeveloped Metropolitan theatres.

He said Longboat Development Corp.’s $75-million hotel and commercial complex on Portage across from the arena, which is expected to get underway before the end of the year, will be the catalyst for establishing the new SHED. And the creation of the SHED will be the linchpin for the revitalization of Portage.

“The idea is to get more people downtown and keep them here for longer periods of time,” he said. “This (Longboat) is the first of many developments we’ll see in the SHED in the coming years.”

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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