May 30, 2020

Winnipeg
13° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

MPI moves 100 staff out of CityPlace HQ

Manitoba Public Insurance is shuffling more than 100 staff from its CityPlace headquarters to other Winnipeg offices, while conducting a "physical space analysis" of the downtown tower that may result in selling some of its office space to new tenants.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont raised concerns at the legislature Monday about the Crown corporation possibly divesting from one of its prime real estate assets.

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press Files</p><p>MPI is moving over a 100 staff from its CityPlace headquarters to its other Winnipeg offices.</p>

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press Files

MPI is moving over a 100 staff from its CityPlace headquarters to its other Winnipeg offices.

"If the government is to sell (CityPlace) off, then we’re going to lose the benefit of owning that asset. There will be a one-time benefit from selling it off, but there won’t be that long-term accrual of lower (Autopac) rates," Kinew said.

Lamont underlined the importance of having government offices located in the city's core.

"It is really important for the government to make a commitment to downtown Winnipeg," he said. "I know that there’s sometimes a struggle, but it makes a difference to have government offices in downtown, for the health of downtown."

Some information about MPI's space considerations was provided to opposition leaders in a briefing note hand-delivered by Premier Brian Pallister in the house last week. Pallister provided more detailed responses to questions they had originally posed to him during a budget estimates hearing earlier this fall.

The document, titled "Matters Under Advisement," lists three objectives for the CityPlace Space Plan & CityPlace Ownership Strategy, to be developed over three years:

● "Reduce the corporation’s CityPlace-based occupancy costs by implementing new industry consistent facility standards."

● "Vacate 70,000 square feet of office tower space to create new revenue generating opportunities."

● "Maximize CityPlace’s value and position the property for potential sale."

Both Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton and MPI spokesman Brian Smiley refuted that MPI currently has plans to sell CityPlace, a 330,000 square foot, nine-storey office building and shopping centre bought for about $80.5 million in 2009.

"MPI has no intentions of leaving, or selling, CityPlace at this time," Smiley said in an email to the Free Press.

"Physical space analyses are conducted on an on-going basis. Recently, MPI staff were informed of relocation of several departments currently located at the CityPlace location. More than 100 staffers will be relocated to MPI’s Bison and Gateway Service Centres," he said, noting the changes are already underway.

"These moves are aimed at maximizing space at CityPlace in efforts to increase revenue and profit for the operation of CityPlace."

It's unclear whether CityPlace has been a money-loser or winner for MPI. Smiley said an answer to that question was "not readily available" Monday.

Wharton told reporters vacant space in the downtown MPI building is being considered for refurbishment.

"I know in discussions with MPI, they’re of course looking to invest in the property to ensure they can attract tenants as they go forward to ensure that they’re maximizing the CityPlace structure," he said.

"So that’s a solid business plan in my view and I believe that’ll work out well in the long run."

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @_jessbu

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 7:57 PM CST: Fixes typo.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us