A planned multi-family apartment building with street-level commercial units will bring new rental stock to the Lavalee neighbourhood of St. Vital, if the developer’s vision moves forward as planned.
The proposed development site includes five lots at 469, 471, 473, 475 and 481 St. Anne’s Rd., southeast of the intersection of St. Anne’s Road and Hindley Avenue, and just south of the Dairy Delight restaurant.
The site currently holds three vacant single-family homes, a vacant restaurant and an empty lot.
Developer Ryan Ridge, owner of Ridgix Building Solutions Inc., said he’s been working on the as-yet-unnamed project for about 11/2 years, purchasing the five parcels and applying to get them rezoned. He plans to consolidate the five lots and build a six-storey, mixed-use building with 77 residential units — and five commercial spaces at street level. An earlier plan called for 109 apartment units, but Ridge said that number was scaled back to comply with zoning requirements.
It’s too early to say how much the apartment units might cost to rent, but Ridge said they’ll be "affordable living for the area."
"We’re not going to be skewed, we’ll be competitively priced for the surrounding market, for sure," he said.
Future tenants for the commercial units also remain up in the air, Ridge said.
"I don’t want to have something that requires a large degree of traffic... There’s already going to be, within reason, enough traffic that will be naturally brought in with this size of development," he said.
"It’s going to be a harmony, that I try to do with all my developments, is to try and find a good synergy between both the residential and the commercial sides."
Ridge said the plan for the as-yet-unnamed building includes outdoor and indoor common areas, as well as a gym.
"And then there will be some barbecuing areas and such… In the parkade, we’ll have a dog-wash station, a car wash. Up on the top floor, the sixth floor, we’re going to have those urban, raised gardens," he said.
"Just little things like that, to create a sense of community and just better ownership. It just helps, overall, foster a better environment for everybody there, for real long-term tenancy (and) communal growth."
Demographically speaking, Ridge said the area tends to have older residents who might be interested in reducing their maintenance burden by renting. The building, which will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, could also appeal to smaller families and couples, Ridge said, adding that St. Anne’s Road offers good transit access to downtown Winnipeg.
As it stands now, the building will have enclosed parking on the main floor and underground. Plans presented to city committees also call for bike parking stalls near the commercial units, as well as a bike storage room.
Final construction plans for the site have not yet been approved by the city, but Ridge hopes to have shovels in the ground between late winter and early summer. Construction might take between 15 and 18 months, he said.
St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes supports the latest iteration of the project, which calls for the rear of the building to be angled back away from the abutting residential properties to the east.
"Generally, I like to see intensification on the main corridors, like St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s, and this certainly did that, so I was supportive," Mayes said.
"But I did want to see it angled back toward the single-family homes that are further east, so I supported what our planners had recommended, which was angling it down as it went east toward the neighbourhood."
The proposed development should fit into the neighbourhood because it’s on a main street, Mayes said.
"If it was further in, I wouldn’t have approved it. But I think it makes sense to try and densify on those main streets."
Solomon Israel is a full-time reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and for two years, the lead writer for Free Press cannabis news site, The Leaf News. He continues to provide coverage of the cannabis beat while covering business in the city and province.