A new development proposal is seeking approval to demolish the Cambridge Hotel and replace it with an apartment complex.
Public consultations are underway for a plan to replace the hotel at 1022 Pembina Hwy. with a six-storey, mixed-use building that would include 87 residential suites.
The redevelopment could prove bittersweet for some, since the Cambridge beverage room proved a popular hangout for decades, said Jino Distasio, a professor of urban geography at the University of Winnipeg.
Distasio noted a separate proposal seeks to replace the beverage room of the Pembina Hotel across the street, another longtime watering hole.
"Each of these projects are just taking a little bit of history with (them)," he said. "I’m not necessarily surprised but, in some ways, a little bit saddened that it is the end of an era on that part of Pembina."
However, Distasio expects the latest potential investment would help the local economy recover from the pandemic, while also revitalizing a mature neighbourhood.
"Higher-density projects can add some vitality to some of our more stable, older neighbourhoods," he said. "You’re doing a pretty major infill in a much older part of Winnipeg but in a part that has greater accessibility, great connections to schools and great connections to all kinds of amenities."
Coun. Sherri Rollins said she can’t speak to the merits of the proposal, since the project is expected to eventually require city hall approvals. A formal application for the redevelopment has not yet been submitted to the city.
Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said it is encouraging to see interest in the redevelopment projects.
"(For) both buildings, there is no question their time is done and it’s time for something new," she said. "I don’t think anyone driving by these buildings would think that they haven’t served their best life years and years and years ago."
On Wednesday, council is scheduled to cast a final vote on a separate proposal that aims to demolish "the Pemby," and replace it with a mixed-use apartment building.
Rollins credits the Southwest Rapid Transitway for helping spark interest in the area.
"The thinking was always that development would follow (the transitway and active transportation route)…. (The fact) we’re seeing it in such short order is really great for Winnipeg," she said.
Details of the Cambridge Hotel plan were shared in public consultation documents during a virtual open house Thursday. The building is expected to supply 78 parking spaces for residents, at least some of whom are expected to rely on the transitway and active transportation.
Details of the proposal could change following the public consultation.
Officials at the planning and development firm Richard and Wintrup, who hosted the open house, declined comment Friday.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.