A few years ago, Winnipeg property company Progressive Real Estate developed an idea.
Just off St. Mary’s Road, there is a small lane called Normand Avenue, which has a handful of houses. Some were in disrepair, some weren’t even connected to sewer or water service, and they were on what had become a prime parcel of land next to Henteleff Park.
For $5 million, Progressive purchased 19 acres on Normand, and sold about 11 back to the City of Winnipeg in March. It developed a plan to rezone its portion for a rental project called Parkview Terrace.
Once rezoning was approved, construction began on the first building: a 45-unit property, with rents ranging from $1,275 for one-bed, one-bath to $2,425 for three-bed, two-bath, expected to be ready by 2021.
By the time the seven-phase development is complete, there will be 360 rental units. It’s a massive project, but Progressive vice-president of operations, Geoff Milnes, said St. Mary’s Road is a popular destination for a lot of renters and condo buyers.
"It’s a major corridor, with bus service, near the mall and shopping, with lots of green space," he said. "We find that’s typically where people want to live."
Progressive wasn’t the only company to recognize the potential.
On St. Mary’s Road, between River and Warde avenues, development is underway on several condo and rental properties that will begin hitting the market soon.
Seeing all the construction crews dotting the road can make passersby do a double-take.
At 1639 St. Mary’s, a 66-unit apartment complex called Harvest Crossing has risen from the ground.
ME Developments bought the property in 2018, said co-owner Mark Enns.
"There were good amenities and St. Vital had a low vacancy rate." Construction is expected to be complete by January.
Across the parking lot, Towers Realty Group is developing a four-storey, 57-unit rental property called Oaks on St. Mary’s, in conjunction with Jacobson Commercial and FT3 Architecture. The building will feature units with one-bed/one-bath and two-bed/two-baths, plus accessible suites. Construction is set to conclude next summer.
Further along, real estate professionals Tod and Troy Niblock, who are cousins, are working with CobbleStone Homes on a condo development they call Redview Terrace. The project is the continuation of the Riverstone condo project that finished and sold out in 2019.
Like Parkview Terrace, Redview condos are being built on a lot that once featured single-family homes, with a value the developers couldn’t pass on.
"It’s one of the best locations in Winnipeg," Tod Niblock said. "Where else can you get these views? The river and the park, this site has both. It’s a pretty sweet spot."
Redview will have 50 units, with listing prices ranging from $350,000 to $630,000. The building will be finished by February 2021. Niblock said, by late May, more than half had sold, and only eight riverfront-view units remained available.
The projects in development aren’t the first to go up in the area, but they illustrate a growing desire for downsizers, seniors, and families to flock to the growing neighbourhood, advocates say.
"I think there’s a lot of rental demand in the area," said Milnes. "A lot of our clients were seeing in other areas that many demographics just wanted a turnkey home where everything was paid for."
Soon, there won’t be any shortage of options along St. Mary’s.
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.