Site-servicing work is expected to get underway next spring on a long-awaited new Fort Garry subdivision that’s expected to provide hundreds of new customers for the city’s controversial southwest rapid transit service.
"It’s all coming together," Don Larke, vice-president of development and construction for Hopewell Development said of the Calgary firm’s proposed $500-million Bishop Grandin Crossing residential/retail/office/industrial project.
Hopewell describes the 131-acre development as "the city’s first truly TOD (transit-oriented development) project."
It will be built on the former Manitoba Sugar Beet Factory property, located north of Bishop Grandin Boulevard between Pembina Highway and Waverley Street. It’s expected to include 32 acres of multi-family residential housing, 43 acres of office and light-industrial space and 23 acres of commercial/retail space.
"But we do certainly envision some of the multi-family parcels being taken up fairly quickly."— Don Larke
Larke said the company expects to have the final engineering designs and approvals in place by the end of this year and to have the last of 600,000 cubic metres of "lime mud" — a silty but benign material that’s a byproduct of the sugar beet-washing process — removed by early next year.
That will clear the way for servicing of the site to begin next spring, he added, with the goal of making serviced lots available to buyers, and to Hopewell’s own team of developers, by the fall of next year.
Marketing of the project will begin this summer, and the first phase of construction will start in the spring of 2018 — two years before the second phase of the southwest rapid transit corridor becomes operational. Larke said it could take seven to 10 years to develop the entire site.
The 132-acre subdivision is expected to include more than 1,100 new multi-family dwellings and a still-to-be-determined number of square feet of retail, office and light-industrial space. It’s also being described as one of the largest mixed-use, infill developments in the city’s history.
"As a mixed-use, infill development of this scale, I think it’s unprecedented," said John Prall, a principal and a vice-president with the exclusive sales and leasing agent for the project — the Winnipeg office of Colliers International. "I can’t think of others that would be of this scale."
Prall said, "What’s exciting about this property is that the flexible zoning allows for this broad variety of commercial retail, office, industrial and residential all under one large-plan development."
Although there has been a lot of new office, retail, industrial and residential development in the southwest quadrant of the city over the last decade, Prall said there is still a good demand for all four types of product.
He and Larke said prospective retail, office and industrial tenants will have the option of renting space in buildings developed by Hopewell or some other developer, or buying a parcel of land and constructing their own building.
Prall said there is a limited supply of all three types of serviced land in this area, and some retailers will likely prefer to own their land and building. He said the types of retail businesses that might be interested in Bishop Grandin Crossing are hotels, auto dealerships, gas bars, convenience stores and medical offices.
The retail portion of the development will be located at the south end of the site, while the office/industrial component will be on the northwest and north-central sides of the property.
The residential component will be built along the southeast side near the planned Southwest Transitway Station. It will include a combination of townhomes and multi-family buildings up to 15 stories in height. Larke said the 13 serviced residential lots will be sold to third-party developers, who will decide what types of units they want to build — rental or condominiums.
While it will depend on demand, he said it’s possible all four types of property could be made available early on in the project.
"But we do certainly envision some of the multi-family parcels being taken up fairly quickly."
Bishop Grandin Crossing will be Hopewell’s largest development to date in Winnipeg. It’s other projects include the Bridgwater Town Centre, which is now under development, the Kildonan Green commercial plaza and the 400,000-square-foot Kenaston Common retail power centre on the northwest corner of Kenaston and McGillivray boulevards.
The original plan for the Bishop Grandin development didn’t have a residential component. But that changed in 2011 when the City of Winnipeg identified the sugar beet property as major redevelopment site and also announced it planned to proceed with the second leg of the southwest rapid transit corridor.
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail or industrial retail sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below or at 204-697-7254