Coming into Align-ment

Student rental housing development’s second phase should be ready for 2024 school year


Advertise with us

Phase 2 of a student rental housing development project in southwest Winnipeg is expected to be completed next summer.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe:

Monthly Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.

Phase 2 of a student rental housing development project in southwest Winnipeg is expected to be completed next summer.

Align, an 18-storey, 397-unit (554-bed) residential mixed-use building located at 2537 Pembina Hwy., broke ground in May 2022 and will be move-in ready in time for the 2024 school year.

The building will neighbour Phase 1, The Arc (opened in 2021), across from the gate of the University of Manitoba’s main campus, at the corner of Bison Drive.

“We’re on schedule,” said Henry Morton, president of the developer Campus Suites. “We’re at the surface, we’re pouring ground level. We’ve done all of the garage, but that’s really it.”

Morton said he anticipates the building will be ready to start accepting tenant applications in early 2024.

Along with the residential units, the building will feature 7,700 square-feet of commercial space to be occupied by several tenants. Morton said he expects the ground level to hold a diverse set of services, similar to The Arc, which has a Little Pizza Heaven, a dentist office and a sandwich shop.

Units will start anywhere from $1,100 to $1,200 per month and be available in one to four-bed styles. Each dwelling will be fully furnished with full kitchens and internet.

“We have a number of price points that address a number of different living conditions. So we have what we think is a price point that addresses a mix of living conditions. But the different price points allow for people to come in at different levels depending on what their desire or ability is to pay for it,” Morton said.

“You only have to bring yourself and your soft goods to the unit, which is favourable for the students.”

Morton explained rent is calculated on a per-bed basis, which has become common practice in student-oriented spaces. Renting by the bed can often be a load off for students, as they don’t have to worry about how many people they are living with. If their roommate leaves, their monthly price is not affected.

“It’s a type of insurance for families,” he said. “A lot of families find it comforting that they don’t have to find somebody. That’s our risk that we take.”

The price point for residency is an important one for students, especially in Manitoba, where enrolment among international students increased by 17 per cent in 2018, with 18,725 students from 100 countries attending schools and post-secondary institutions throughout the province. A lack of disposable income isn’t uncommon among students, and while the number of foreign learners continue to climb each year, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only build housing on campus, but offer dwellings that are affordable.

The issue of being student-poor is possibly no more prevalent than in Toronto, Ont. where MPP Jessica Bell said a $100,000 income is required in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment. It’s been reported that soaring housing prices in Toronto have left some students with no choice but to stay in homeless shelters.

Morton explained that inflation has created a difficult balancing act.

“The challenge with what we do is everything cost a substantial amount of money to build. In doing so, we have to have a minimum rent in order to make these projects viable and provide jobs and availability for the people in the community,” Morton said.

“It is really a difficult challenge to think about. It’s very difficult to address multiple needs like that within one building.”

Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverly West) has long supported Align and The Arc developments, as she’s acknowledged a mass housing shortage near the university.

“It’s important because the university is growing, it’s not going anywhere and I just really think if developers want to develop along a corridor, we’ve got this massive investment in transit that we’ve just done — I just think it’s important,” Lukes said.

“I can’t wait. It’s going to be beautiful. What I’ve really observed over the last few years is there’s a lot of older buildings (in the surrounding area)… they’re re-skinning their buildings. So new facilities lift up the old facilities also.”

Twitter: @jfreysam

Joshua Frey-Sam

Joshua Frey-Sam

Joshua Frey-Sam happily welcomes a spirited sports debate any day of the week.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us