April 21, 2019

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Banana Boat building to be demolished in the fall, replaced with new structure

Banana Boat owner Hui Chen is still serving up her business's tasty namesake, though the property is going to be developed.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Banana Boat owner Hui Chen is still serving up her business's tasty namesake, though the property is going to be developed.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2015 (1446 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ice cream lovers can take one final ride on the current Banana Boat this summer — and then get ready for the possibility of peanut butter and banana shakes all year long.

One of Winnipeg’s summer institutions has churned out ice cream treats from the same 900-square-foot building on south Osborne Street for decades, but now it’s nearing the end of its operational life, the property owner has some cool development plans.

Tony Bagnulo, president of Fluid Developments Inc., a Winnipeg-based commercial real estate developer focused in Fort Rouge, said it no longer makes sense to continue ad hoc upgrades to the current building — which opened in the mid-1950s as a Dairi-Wip — so the time will come to knock it down in the fall.

Construction will begin immediately on a new 5,600-sq.-ft., two-storey structure that will house three tenants on the main floor as well as four apartments on the second level.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2015 (1446 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ice cream lovers can take one final ride on the current Banana Boat this summer — and then get ready for the possibility of peanut butter and banana shakes all year long.

One of Winnipeg’s summer institutions has churned out ice cream treats from the same 900-square-foot building on south Osborne Street for decades, but now it’s nearing the end of its operational life, the property owner has some cool development plans.

Tony Bagnulo, president of Fluid Developments Inc., a Winnipeg-based commercial real estate developer focused in Fort Rouge, said it no longer makes sense to continue ad hoc upgrades to the current building — which opened in the mid-1950s as a Dairi-Wip — so the time will come to knock it down in the fall.

Construction will begin immediately on a new 5,600-sq.-ft., two-storey structure that will house three tenants on the main floor as well as four apartments on the second level.

"The Banana Boat will be the anchor tenant," he said.

"They’re unable to have anything other than a seasonal business in the current location. It’s not winterized. It wouldn’t make sense to build another 900-sq.-ft. building," he said.

Robert Prystupa, business consultant to the Banana Boat owners, said they’ve signed a 10-year lease. While they’re looking forward to the possibilities a new building will bring, they have mixed emotions about saying goodbye to their longtime home.

"A lot of people like the old building. The old store is cheaper to operate, but we have to go into the new building if we’re going to remain at that location. And that’s the Banana Boat’s location," he said.

When the demand for ice cream falls off in the winter, Prystupa said the owners are looking at the possibility of adding sandwiches and other fare.

"We might end up like Myer’s Delicatessen," he said, referring to the River Heights deli. "That’s the game plan, but it’s still to be determined."

The Banana Boat will need to spend up to $250,000 on new equipment to operate in the new building, Prystupa said.

"We’ll have to sell a lot of ice cream," he said with a laugh.

The plan is to demolish the existing building on Oct. 1, following the ice cream season, and have the new building up by March. It’s expected the Banana Boat will need up to two months to customize the space before opening in time for the summer of 2016.

If the Banana Boat hadn’t committed to the new building, it would have represented a serious blow to south Osborne ice cream lovers, which lost the Dutch Maid ice cream parlour in Osborne Village more than a decade ago.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

 

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