Downtown’s ‘new dynamic epicentre’

True North Square developers unveil details of five-star hotel and luxury residential building


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The full scope of a development touted as being transformational for downtown was on display for the first time on Thursday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/08/2017 (1923 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The full scope of a development touted as being transformational for downtown was on display for the first time on Thursday.

Developers of True North Square unveiled details of the two-tower Sutton Place Hotel and Residences that will break ground next spring at the northwest corner of St. Mary Avenue and Carlton Street.

That site will include a 288-room, 18-storey Sutton Place Hotel and a 130-room, 13-storey, luxury rental apartment building owned by Vancouver-based Northland Properties Corp.

The project is across the road from the site where two other towers are under construction, on east side of Carlton Street. Construction of the hotel and luxury apartment towers is expected to begin around the same time one of those two towers iscompleted.

“In January 2016, this was a surface parking lot and had been for decades and decades,” Jim Ludlow, president of True North Real Estate Development — developers of the project in partnership with James Richardson & Sons’ real estate arm — said at a news conference on the construction site.

“The centre of gravity of Winnipeg’s historic downtown core is shifting,” he said. “This is the new dynamic epicentre.”

The five-star hotel and the luxury residential building will be marketed as an extended-stay executive residential operation. It represents the missing piece in the total development concept, a crucial component needed to accommodate larger conventions at the expanded RBC Convention Centre directly across the street on the south side of St. Mary Avenue. Its property taxes also will help pay down debt to the city that the RBC centre had accrued for that expansion. 

“I can’t tell you how proud we are to be part of this project,” Northland Properties president and CEO Tom Gaglardi said. “This is the first major hotel project on any big scale on the city’s downtown in 45 years.”

Gaglardi’s company, which also owns the Dallas Stars of the NHL, is no stranger to the Winnipeg market. His company owns the Shark Club, Sandman Hotels and Chop Steakhouse and Bar. He announced that the hotel complex will also include more than 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, including a second Winnipeg Chop location.

Gaglardi said the company will also start building a new 220-room Sandman Signature Hotel beside the current one on Sargent Avenue, even as the Sutton Place begins construction.

SUPPLIED True North Square, as shown in an artist’s rendering, will include a 288-room, 18-storey Sutton Place Hotel and a 130-room, 13-storey, luxury rental apartment building.

“Winnipeg has been a tremendously stable market over the long term, maybe not a high performer,” Gaglardi said. “This hotel project will carve out its own market and I think it will grow the market. Right now there are events and functions that won’t come to Winnipeg with the current complement of lodgings downtown. A hotel like this will help the convention centre and help the city.”

Mayor Brian Bowman was beaming with satisfaction at the massive development, whose four towers will add 1.1 million square feet of commercial and residential space. Its construction will pump close to $500 million of investment capital into the city.

“It has been a long time since we have seen this type of investment in the downtown. The scale is unprecedented and we need to keep this positive momentum going,” he said. “This demonstrates a tremendous vote of confidence from the private sector… including from investors who do not reside here.”

Ludlow confirmed that occupancy of the 17-storey office tower at 242 Hargrave St. is set for June 29, 2018. TDS law firm and Scotiabank have already been confirmed as anchor tenants.

He said he expects to be able to open the building with about 60 per cent occupancy and to fill it in a staged process after that.

The 24-storey residential tower at 225 Carlton St. also will include two floors of retail and four floors of office. Apartment sizes will range from 500-square-foot, one-bedroom units — likely starting somewhere above $1,000 per month — to penthouse suites. It will open in the spring of 2019, but pre-marketing will begin next fall.

Ludlow said the mixed-use development, located strategically near Bell MTS Place and the convention centre, follows a trend seen in other major cities — particularly Toronto and Vancouver — that have proven successful in attracting residential tenants who want to live where they work and “maybe even live in the same building that the (NHL) players live in.”

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The True North Square construction site as it looked Thursday.

The hotel is expected to take as much as three years to construct, but Ludlow said ideally the entirety of the project would be completed by the end of 2020.


Martin Cash

Martin Cash

Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.


Updated on Thursday, August 31, 2017 10:19 PM CDT: Full write through and final edit

Updated on Friday, September 1, 2017 9:07 AM CDT: Corrects reference to St. Mary Avenue

Updated on Friday, September 1, 2017 9:51 AM CDT: Adds photos

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