A new renovation project at Canada Life Centre aims to create more elbow room in the north concourse, in the vicinity of the Budweiser King Club Lounge. At the same time, the downtown location of Moxies is shuttering after an 18-year run.
"This expansion will serve to improve circulation and relieve congestion across the east and west concourses, and improve amenities in the Bud King Club," Krista Sinaisky, True North Sports and Entertainment’s corporate communications director, wrote in an email.
Construction in the former Moxies should begin during the 2022-23 hockey season. It’s scheduled to finish before the 2023-24 season begins, Sinaisky wrote.
The restaurant space will add between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet to the north concourse, Sinaisky said. Renovations — including to the Budweiser King Club Lounge — will affect a total 19,000 square feet.
The open area will have food and drink options.
The changes are part of a multi-year improvement plan that began with the Winnipeg Jets’s 2011 homecoming.
The concourse expansion had been considered for many years, but it was put on the back burner due to the pandemic, according to Sinaisky. The north end’s design work began during the 2018-19 hockey season.
"We look forward to sharing more details about this space as work with architects and interior designers progresses," Sinaisky wrote.
Blue signs pasted to Moxies’s doors inform passersby of its closure.
"After 18 wonderful years of serving guests and making new friends at Canada Life Centre, we are sad to say that our journey at this location is coming to an end," reads a letter posted to the restaurant’s exterior, signed off by "Moxies GM".
It served customers their final meal at the location last Friday. The downtown Moxies opened in 2004, the same year as the arena (then called the MTS Centre).
Polo Park and Kenaston areas still have Moxies. The letter posted to the downtown spot invites patrons to visit those locations, plus the Shark Club Sports Bar and Grill in Cityplace.
Nothing is changing at the Shark Club, according to an employee not authorized to speak with media.
Northland Properties owns Moxies and Shark Club chains; downtown Moxies employees had the option of taking jobs at other Winnipeg locations, including the Shark Club, the staff member said.
"It’s always tough if we’re losing a patio," Kate Fenske, CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, said of Moxies’ downtown closure.
"Maybe there’s some other things we can do outside and around the arena together with our partners to make that experience a great one," she said.
It’s always sad to lose a business, but more seem to be returning downtown, Fenske said. And, she has a positive view of Canada Life Centre’s renovations.
"I think that really shows a commitment to the downtown community and the private sector (seeing) value in investing downtown," Fenske said.
Since the Jets’ return, the arena has undergone renovations including new seating and an added lounge section. True North has also updated public spaces such as the Hargrave Street walkway and Portage Avenue atrium.
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