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This article was published 13/5/2019 (381 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The City of Winnipeg is planning long-term makeovers for its Northwest Exchange District and Chinatown neighbourhoods aimed at revitalizing the areas surrounding city hall with residential and commercial properties.
Mayor Brian Bowman announced the revitalization plan — developed in concert with CentreVenture Development Corp., the province and area stakeholders — at a news conference Monday morning.
"Winnipeg’s population is growing and we are on track to becoming a million people strong. We need to be planning today for this level of future growth, and we need to be doing it in partnership with other levels of government and by actively engaging with community stakeholders," Bowman said.
CentreVenture (an arm’s-length agency of the city established in 1999) will take the lead on rolling out the development strategy over the coming years. It marks the agency’s latest effort to revitalize Winnipeg’s downtown.
The strategy document released Monday outlines a plan to fill vacant lots in the neighbourhood and enhance the history of the area by fostering a mix of affordable housing and supporting local businesses.
CentreVenture president and chief executive officer Angela Mathieson said it takes decades to implement a plan of this scope. Over the next 10 years, she said it’s hoped 500 new residents will move into the neighbourhood.
"To give you some perspective, Waterfront Drive was an idea in 2001 — so we’re nearly 20 years on. To really turn around a neighbourhood of this scale, it really does take that amount of time. But you’ll be seeing in the next year some really big projects that will have an initial impact," Mathieson said.
She said the location can serve as a transitional area from the downtown business district into nearby residential zones. In particular, the area along Princess Street could be ideal for residential development, while the agency hopes to foster local retail options on King Street.
CentreVenture also announced it has formally issued requests for proposals for the redevelopment of two buildings — optioned to the agency by the city — located at 311 Ross Ave. and 346 Pacific Ave. The agency hopes to have the properties developed into low-rise, mixed income residential units.
"There are tremendous assets and a great sense of identity in these neighbourhoods. But there are opportunities to fill in some of the gaps and create an even stronger and safer neighbourhood," Mathieson said. "This strategy and the partnerships formed through its creation provide a solid foundation for working together and making great things happen."
The province provided $30,000 in funding to CentreVenture for the project, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton said.
However, Wharton repeatedly side-stepped questions on whether the province would consider offering tax-increment financing options for the redevelopment of the area. The province isn’t considering kicking-in any funding above the initial $30,000 at this time, he said.
"Certainly, those are discussions we’re going to continue to have with folks like CentreVenture to make sure we’re making the right investments at the right time. This is a great project right here," Wharton said.
"This strategy is another example of how CentreVenture continues to support and align downtown renewal efforts by identifying and informing opportunities for growth and development in the heart of Winnipeg."
According to the 2016 census of Canada, Winnipeg had a population of 705,000.
The City of Winnipeg's projections (released in 2018) put the estimated population at 735,000 that year, growing to 778,000 in 2019.
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Updated on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 4:13 PM CDT: updates story, adds photo