Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/3/2021 (320 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s been 17 years since the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry moved to CFB Shilo and the 160-acre former Kapyong Barracks site has remained vacant.
But not for much longer.
On Thursday, the 130-page master plan for the redevelopment of the site was released, and while the owners of the land — Treaty One Development Corp. (T1DC) and Canada Lands Co. (CLC) — figure it will likely take 10 to 15 years for the complete build out of the site, the publication marks a significant milestone.
The general concept and location of all the elements — mixed-use village, commercial mixed-use, medium density residential, lower density residential, sports and recreation, cultural campus and education and community spaces — is exactly the same as appeared in the preferred concept plan that was released in October.
The documents provides further detail along with the design and strategic development policies and, with accompanying traffic impact and transportation studies, will form the basis for the secondary plan applications that will be brought to the city.
"There are no surprises or changes from what we saw in October," said Kevin Klein the city councilor representing Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood where the project is located.
He said he believes it will be one of the things he will look back on and be proud of as a changing moment for Winnipeg.
"They said they were going to listen to the community." He said. "They went out and spoke and listened and what they came back with is what they said they were going to do."
With below ground demolition on the site expected to be completed in the summer, construction may actually begin on the first of the development sites as early as this fall.
Tim Daniels, chief operating officer of Treaty One Development Corp., said it is a proud and exciting moment.
"It is a major step forward," he said.
The massive site will not only be the largest multi-use development project in modern Winnipeg history, it will also be the single largest urban Indigenous economic zone, or urban reserve, in Canada.
In the partnership agreement, T1DC will be responsible for the development of 108 acres and CLC the other 52 acres.
Daniels said the Indigenous influence on the development will impact land use with guiding design principles that incorporate elements of the surrounding neighbourhoods, "while showcasing First Nations identity and cultures."
The master plan envisions from 2,300 to 3,000 residential units and from 915,000 to 1.2 million square feet of commercial space (office, retail and institutional).
Chris Elkey, vice-president, real estate with CLC, said the economic impact calculations have not been made yet. But considering the breadth and scope it’s likely to far surpass $1 billion in investments.
"The development work itself will have a sizable economic impact but I think just as important is the jobs that it creates, the opportunities for young people and for entrepreneurs who want to start a business," Elkey said.
CLC’s portion of the project will encompass much of the residential development. The master plan will form the basis for its applications for secondary plan approvals with the city. Elkey said it expects to have that completed before the end of this year. In 2022 it will look on detailed engineering and park designs and detailed zoning and subdivision. He said that will take another year to work through.
"So by 2023 we will be in a position to start infrastructure investment and start selling land to builders so new homes can be built there," he said.
T1DC is planning its first development, an eight-acre parcel on the northeast corner of Kenaston Boulevard and Taylor Avenue that could start construction in the fall. Not only is that the smallest of the five parcels of the development plan, it is also the easiest to start because of roadway and servicing already in place.
Daniels said they are saving the details of that project for another announcement, but it is expected to be about a $100-million development that will include office and apartment buildings, a strip mall and gas station.
While there is now a fully realized, detailed development plan in place, it will still need market acceptance for every step of the way. Neither T1DC nor CLC will be the ones who will eventually own the buildings or build the housing. But both Daniels and Elkey say there has been strong interest.
"Without even actually having done any marketing, the interest is very high," Elkey said. "Both of us (CLC and T1DC) have received numbers of calls and emails from groups and individuals looking to get involved at Kapyong. We are quite optimistic of the market viability of the project."
Daniels agreed, saying the interest is coming from across the country. He said business plans are in the works and while his organization will still need to line up financing for its part of the projects he is confident that, too, will be successful.
"We’re not concerned about lining up financing because this is one of the biggest historical projects for the city," he said. "It will benefit not only First Nations people but the whole city and province."
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.