Adding new life to downtown

Development bringing in hundreds of workers

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One of the key components in the revitalization of downtown Winnipeg -- the $130-million Centrepoint development on Portage Avenue across from the MTS Centre -- has begun breathing new life into the area in a big way.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/04/2015 (2664 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One of the key components in the revitalization of downtown Winnipeg — the $130-million Centrepoint development on Portage Avenue across from the MTS Centre — has begun breathing new life into the area in a big way.

Two of the four major pieces in the nearly one-square-block development — the 160-room Alt Hotel on the Donald Street side and a 400-stall parkade on the Hargrave Street side — began welcoming customers last week.

Today, one of the two main tenants in the development’s five-storey office/retail complex on Portage — the Winnipeg office of retail software developer iQmetrix — celebrates the grand opening of its 10,000-square-foot, second-floor office.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Thu Tran, director of operations for retail software developer iQmetrix, says he and fellow employees couldn't be happier about their new space.

And in two weeks, employees of anchor tenant Stantec move into their new quarters on the top 21/2 floors of the 100,000-square-foot building.

Those two offices alone will bring an extra 345 new workers into the downtown each day during the work week — 275 with Stantec and 70 with iQmetrix.

Still to come are two main-floor restaurants and another retail tenant — possibly a café or a coffee bar — and Urban Capital’s 21-storey Glasshouse Lofts condominium tower.

Urban Capital co-founder David Wex said Monday the condo project is coming along nicely and is about one-third to one-half completed.

“By this time next year there should be moving people in,” Wex said. “It will take about four months to move the entire building in.”

The president of Longboat Development Corp., which is building Centrepoint along with Winnipeg’s Artis Real Estate Investment Trust, said the Latin-and-Asian-themed Merchant Bar and Kitchen will be the first restaurant to open. It will be on the main floor on the Donald Street side of the office/retail building.

“They’re really, really trying to get their doors open in the next week or two — but it will be opening in May for sure,” Scott Stephanson said in an interview.

Stephanson said within the next couple of weeks, they also hope to announce which restaurant group will be leasing the bulk of the 10,000-square-feet of main-floor space on the Portage Avenue side of the building.

The Milestones restaurant chain had been slated to move into that spot, but later changed course. Stephanson wouldn’t say if the replacement is a local or a national group.

He said there will also be room on that side for another 2,000-square-foot retail tenant, and discussions are underway with several interested parties.

“We’d like to have something to complement the other two restaurant users — maybe a coffee bar or café, or something like that,” he said.

The iQmetrix office quietly opened its doors on April 16, and director of operations Thu Tran said he and the employees couldn’t be happier about their new space.

Tran said it’s about 21/2 times bigger than their former office in an East Exchange District heritage building. And with a huge bank of windows running the complete length of both the Donald Street and Portage Avenue sides of the main open-concept work area, it not only feels big, it’s extra bright.

“All of these bright windows — it’s really good for the brain and for being creative and innovative,” he said. “The space we had before was OK, but now we have a really cool space.”

Tran said having such a wonderful office, which also includes a spacious staff lounge looking onto Portage Avenue, should make it easier to attract and retain workers.

He said the Vancouver-based company’s Winnipeg staff has gone from about a dozen workers in 2008 to 70 and counting today.

“We’re a growing company… and I don’t see a real end to it.”

He said there is another 7,000 square feet of space next to their office that iQmetrix has first right of refusal on. And at the rate they’re growing, they could be expanding into that space within the next year or so, he said.

Stephanson said there’s also another 8,000 square feet of vacant space on the third floor that should be leased in the near future.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 9:24 AM CDT: Corrects that company is Vancouver-based

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