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This article was published 2/8/2017 (832 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Construction is expected to get underway in November on a new $18-million to $20-million parkade/retail complex on the former St. Regis Hotel property on Smith Street.
"Our proposed timeline is to start demolition (of the hotel) at the end of August, submit for a full building permit in September and start above-ground construction in November," Fortress Real Developments Inc. spokeswoman Natasha Alibhai said in an interview Tuesday. "So everything is moving pretty fast on this one."
Fortress is partnering with Toronto-based Edenshaw Developments Ltd. on both the St. Regis redevelopment project, which includes the hotel property and a surface parking lot immediately south of it, and the $200-million, 45-storey SkyCity Centre condominium/retail/office tower to be built immediately south of that, facing Graham Avenue.
Edenshaw president David McComb said the parkade/retail complex is expected to take 12 to 13 months to build. Construction of the SkyCity tower is also expected to get underway later this year, and will take about three years to complete.
"However, we are currently reviewing with our constructor methods to reduce the construction duration," McComb said.
The city-approved redevelopment plan for the St. Regis property, which Fortress purchased from CentreVenture Development Corporation in 2014 for $4 million, calls for 12,500 square feet of retail/commercial space on the ground floor, and 290 parking stalls on the top four floors of the five-storey complex. It also calls for a restaurant/bar on the main floor that will have a covered, three-season outdoor patio running along Smith Street.
"This will really bring the street to life by bringing ground-floor retail along Smith Street," Alibhai said.
McComb said Wayne Sato, a vice-president with Cushman & Wakefield Winnipeg, is handling the leasing of the commercial space in both the parkade complex and the SkyCity tower.
"We expect a couple of tenants in the parkade (complex) and multiple tenants in SkyCity," McComb said. "We would be looking at restaurants and services as primary retailers."
McComb said a grocery store is still a possibility for the main floor of the condo tower, although a market-style grocery store also has been explored.
"We expect announcements throughout the coming months."
He noted an overhead skywalk will connect the parkade to the condo tower, which in turn will be connected to the downtown skywalk system. So anyone parking in the parkade will have access to the downtown skywalk system through the tower, he said.
CentreVenture president and CEO Angela Mathieson said earlier this year that CentreVenture officials believe a parkade with ground-level retail space is the best option for the St. Regis site. She noted the SkyCity condo tower and the $400-million True North Square office/retail/residential/hotel development under construction on Graham between Hargrave and Carlton streets are both being built on surface parking lots. So replacement parking spaces will be needed.
"We want to look for opportunities to put in denser parking... and we think that’s especially important in the SHED (Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District) where we have so many activities going on," she said.
"We think this particular location (the St. Regis site) would have very strong economics for the development of a parkade, and we have the group who is willing to work on that. So we’ll support them."
Fortress originally planned to build an eight-storey parkade/commercial complex that also would have included two floors — about 50,000 square feet — of office space. But the office space was later eliminated.
Alibhai said Fortress will be issuing an invitation on its Facebook page later this week for local photographers/artists to take a photograph of the mural on the outside of the St. Regis Hotel and submit it to Fortress. A jury panel will choose the best submission and it will be displayed in the atrium-style lobby area of the new parkade complex.
"We want to still have some homage to it (the 107-year-old hotel). We want to have some memory of what was here, and this would be a nice way to highlight it," she said.