New owner for old Neechi Commons building
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/07/2022 (310 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former grocery store and co-operative in North Point Douglas that folded under crushing debt has been purchased by the Southeast Resource Development Council.
Assiniboine Credit Union sold the building at 865 Main St. to the First Nations-owned non-profit organization for an undisclosed amount and handed keys to the group July 1, according to a news release Wednesday.
“It is important that we provide for our members through a culturally appropriate service delivery model,” said SERDC executive director Doug Mercer. “We are pleased to be able to make this purchase using 100 per cent of our own source revenue.”
Neechi Commons opened in 2013, and was home to a grocery store, restaurant and gallery but closed in 2018 with $3.9 million in debt. Assiniboine Credit Union assumed ownership of the building and had been searching for a buyer to settle the co-operative’s debt.
The now-defunct Self-Starting Creative Opportunities for People in Employment Inc., a non-profit social service agency, had occupied the building between August 2020 and January 2022, and offered housing for 46 people and 40 emergency overnight spaces. It leased the building from Assiniboine Credit Union with the condition Sscope would take it over after a year, but was unable to raise enough funds to cover the down payment on the building.
Recently, the Neechi Commons Multi-Stakeholders Co-operative also attempted to drum up financial support to pay off the debt and take over operations of the building, after it learned a prospective buyer had put forward a conditional offer.
Now, the space will be leased to Shawenim Abinoojii Inc., according to the SERDC, which provides services to eight First Nations communities in the Southeast Tribal Council.
SAI is a First Nations-led, non-profit organization supporting the wellness of Indigenous children, youth and families and provides services to Southeast Child and Family Services. The organization has been operating out of the North End since 2018, and has four offices in the Winnipeg neighbourhood. Its offices will be consolidated at 865 Main St.
“Moving to 865 Main St. will bring our programs and services together under one roof,” executive director Victoria Fisher said in a release. “This will support staff in working collaboratively across programs and will allow service recipients to access resources at one location.”
The building will also be retrofit with offices, community meeting area, common areas and classrooms. The group hopes to fully transition into the space by March.
The SERDC also purchased the former St. Benedict’s Monastery in West St. Paul, which it is converting into a medical receiving home and wellness lodge for members.
“This partnership with Shawenim Abinoojii fits perfectly within our model, so we are honoured to support a transition that will enhance benefits to SERDC members,” Mercer said.