Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/3/2010 (3511 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Corus Entertainment network confirmed Monday what has been rumoured for months — that it's relocating its three radio stations — CJOB 680 AM, Power 97 FM and Groove 99.1 FM — to the Polo Park site after 48 years at 930 Portage Ave.
That will kickstart the proposed 125,000-square-foot Polo North retail development just north of Polo Park Shopping Centre. The first phase involves the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the former CTV/Women's Television Network (WTN) buildings, and the second will see construction of a $15-million, 85,000-square-foot retail/office complex on the Arena site.
A spokesman for developers Cadillac Fairview and Winnipeg's Shindico Realty Inc. said the redevelopment of the Arena site won't begin until they've leased at least half of the space in the proposed complex.
"We're still negotiating (with prospective tenants)," Shindico president Sandy Shindleman said. "But we're hopeful we can put a shovel in the ground this fall."
The developers have been trying for more than three years to find tenants for Polo North and have aired several different concepts in a bid to find one that strikes a chord with retailers. Initially, they wanted to demolish the CTV/WTN buildings and build an open-air, village-styled 'lifestyle centre.' But when retailers didn't bite, they opted instead for a design that incorporates the two existing buildings.
"It will be a complete renovation of both the exterior and interior (of the buildings)," Shindleman said. "This will reduce the carbon footprint... and it's a creative use of an existing building that was originally designed as studio space."
With last year's recession now in the rear-view mirror, Shindleman said he's hopeful they'll soon find retail tenants for the main floor of the two buildings, which will be combined into one, and for the new complex on the Arena site. He said they're talking to both local and national retailers.
Wayne Johnson, a Royal Lepage Dynamic Real Estate agent who tracks retail vacancy rates, said the struggle to find tenants likely has more to do with the high cost of new construction (and new retail space) and last year's economic slowdown than with a drop-off in demand for space in the Polo Park area. He said demand for existing space, particularly smaller blocks of it, remains strong.
Garth Buchko, general manager of the Corus radio stations, said they looked at a number of properties over the last four years. He said the Polo North site was a perfect fit because there's lots of parking, it's close to the downtown and the CTV/WTN buildings come equipped with a broadcasting tower and satellite dishes.
He added they're leasing the entire second floor —about 17,000 square feet — in the combined building.
Polo North is one of two major developments planned for the area. The Asper family's real estate arm Creswin Properties plans to build a 650,000-square-foot luxury shopping mall on the site of Canad Inns Stadium. The revenue from that will help fund David Asper's purchase of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and construction of a proposed stadium and recreation project at the University of Manitoba.