December 12, 2019

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Downtown building boom

$1.26 billion in proposed new developments underway, including over 1,200 residential units

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/7/2016 (1231 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The revitalization of downtown Winnipeg is gaining momentum with $1.26 billion worth of proposed new developments during the next few years, including more than 1,200 new residential units — almost as many as in the previous 10 years combined, new data compiled by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ show.

In its latest Downtown Trends report, which is issued every two years, the BIZ said there are 1,213 new residential units in the planning stages for downtown. That’s only 229 shy of the 1,442 built during the previous 10 years.

SUPPLIED</p><p>True North Square.</p>

SUPPLIED

True North Square.

The $1.26 billion worth of proposed residential, commercial and civic projects, which the BIZ describes as "staggering," also easily tops the $1.12 billion worth of projects completed in the past five years.

"I think what Trends illustrates is that there is significant investment in our downtown," Downtown Winnipeg BIZ managing director Jason Syvixay said in an interview.

And that, in turn, is helping to draw more visitors and residents to the area, he added.

"I think it also serves as a great reminder to a lot of Winnipeggers, who are their own worst critics when it comes to our city and our downtown, that things are moving ahead in a positive and quick manner," Syvixay said. "Also, that these projects that are being planned aren’t just hype. They are things that are moving forward and being built."

Some of the big-ticket projects the report cites include the $400-million True North Square mixed-used development, which includes a total of four highrise towers; Artis Real Estate Investment Trust’s $140-million, 40-storey apartment tower that’s planned for the south end of its Winnipeg Square property; the $188-million, 45-storey SkyCity Centre condo/office/retail tower planned for Graham Avenue; and the longer-term 14-acre Railside and Parcel 4 mixed-use development that’s planned for the north end of The Forks site.

"Those projects have definitely upped the ante when it comes to the number of residential units that will hopefully be built in the next couple of years," Syvixay said. "But I wouldn’t say we just value the megaprojects. There have been some amazing smaller projects that have also brought in some great residents. They are all equally important."

Some of the other highlights from the report, which has been posted on the Downtown Winnipeg Biz website (downtownwinnipegbiz.com), include:

The number of crimes reported downtown declined by 19 per cent from 2014 to 2015.

The number of people living downtown has risen from 15,745 in 2013 to 16,446 at the end of 2015.

Nine new events were introduced last year, boosting the total number of downtown festivals to 62.

The BIZ has installed 20 new patios in the downtown since 2007.

21 new restaurants have also opened in the area since 2013, bringing the total of downtown eateries to 103 as of the end of last year.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights had welcomed nearly 495,000 visitors by the end of last year.

83.3 per cent of downtown businesses say they are confident about the current and future direction of the downtown.

The BIZ’s executive director Stefano Grande said the report does more than just serve as a reminder that there are a lot of great things happening in the downtown.

"Research like Downtown Trends is important because it quantifies the progress of our downtown, and how this growth can shape and inform further economic and business-development opportunities," Grande said. "Downtown Trends research also helps us understand the impact of government policy on downtown Winnipeg."

Syvixay said although the BIZ had been issuing a new Trends report every two years, it has now created a digital version that will be updated throughout the year as new projects are announced and new data become available.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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