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This article was published 17/3/2011 (3538 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Downtown property owners have started jockeying for position to receive $5 million the City of Winnipeg will soon set aside to help build a new parkade on the north side of Portage Avenue.
Next week, city council is slated to approve a plan to dole out $23.6 million earned in late 2009 from the sale of the Winnipeg Square Parkade, once the city's most valuable commercial asset.
All the money will be reinvested downtown, including $10 million in a pair of joint ventures with private developers -- $5 million for a new parkade on James Avenue in the east Exchange and another $5 million for a parkade north of Portage Avenue.
Following the council vote, the city intends to issue expression-of-interest documents to private developers interested in building mixed-use projects with a parkade as well as commercial or residential components.
The owners of a downtown surface parking lot at the corner of Donald Street and Ellice Avenue, the site of an October 2010 announcement about development incentives for empty lots by Mayor Sam Katz's re-election campaign, have already come forward to express interest in becoming a partner with the city.
Dentist Alex Feder and entrepreneur Sheldon Earn, the majority owners of the lot, have approached downtown development agency CentreVenture with a plan to build a parkade with 150 to 200 stalls on the site.
"We've had a discussion with Dr. Feder and we're looking forward to discussing his development," said Ross McGowan, president and CEO of CentreVenture.
Another potential partner is the Chipman family-owned Longboat Development Corp., which has started assembling land for a commercial development of its own on the city block bounded by Portage, Ellice, Donald and Hargrave.
There are a total of 10 properties on the block, including the former A&B Sound Building, which is owned by CentreVenture and leased by True North Sports & Entertainment as an exhibition centre.
Longboat owns two other properties on the block -- the former Wild Planet building on Donald Street and the Alabama building on Ellice Avenue.
Katz said in 2010 the overall redevelopment plan for the block includes an upscale hotel. CentreVenture, which is pursuing a broader Portage Avenue redevelopment strategy, has declined to elaborate on the plan for the block, mainly to prevent property values from rising.
Longboat also has not announced its plans, which remain in the preliminary stages, president Scott Stephanson said Thursday.
"If there is further development north of Portage Avenue, parking will be integrated into the project," he said.
The city's tentative parkade-building strategy for downtown calls for parkades with 400 to 500 stalls. That would place a proposal for a 200-stall parkade at a disadvantage.
Nevertheless, Feder and Earn intend to pursue a joint venture with the city.
"I think it would be in the taxpayers' best interest to know what our proposal is, just so it's not a slam dunk," Feder said. "We want to make this transparent."