DEVELOPERS hope a new six-storey building with 90 apartments and space for seven ground-floor businesses could soon help rejuvenate a key piece of Osborne Village.

DEVELOPERS hope a new six-storey building with 90 apartments and space for seven ground-floor businesses could soon help rejuvenate a key piece of Osborne Village.

The proposed project for the southwest corner of Osborne Street and Gertrude Avenue, a highly visible spot next to Confusion Corner, is pending Winnipeg city council approval.

The ground-floor commercial units would face Osborne Street, while the proposal also includes 77 vehicle parking spaces, a 40-stall indoor bike parking facility, a dedicated car-share vehicle space, roof terraces and balconies.

A proponent for the project said it should help the area recover from its COVID-19 pandemic losses while building upon its walkable nature and proximity to downtown.

"We do really see this not only as kind of… a shot in the arm to the Osborne Village area, but also revitalizing the southern end of the strip… We see this as serving as a bit of an anchor at the south end of Osborne Village, as we get close to the rapid transit line and Confusion Corner," said Brendan Salakoh, a partner at Landmark Planning & Design Inc.

The proposal from developer Adam Sharfe, vice-president of operations for Seekville Inc., seeks to create a pedestrian friendly design that would stretch from 197 to 213 Osborne St.

Salakoh said it’s expected to include smaller local shops at the street level, with five floors of apartments above.

"It’s a high-quality design that we feel actually matches the character and the context for mixed-use development in Osborne Village… We just think that increased residential density, foot traffic and retail spaces would really kind of bolster the pedestrian activity," he said.

Despite the pandemic dealing blows to the economy, Salakoh said clear demand still exists for housing and retail in Osborne Village.

In a report, city staff recommend council approve the plan, predicting it would enhance the pedestrian experience, complement the commercial streetscape and add residential density to an existing neighbourhood.

"(The development would) help strengthen the walkable neighbourhood main street tradition of the village," the report notes.

While a development this size would normally require 85 parking stalls, the report notes 77 are deemed sufficient, due to the car-share vehicle plans and access to rapid transit.

The Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone welcomed the proposal as a great fit for the site.

"It is a real gateway to the village, so to have this as you’re coming from South Osborne, entering Osborne Village from Confusion Corner, it’s a real opportunity to have a real welcome to the neighbourhood to show we’ve got this density, we’ve got these businesses," said Lindsay Somers, executive director.

While COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc with many local businesses, Somers said the general vibe of the village is already improving, partly because pedestrian traffic remained more consistent than in other areas.

"We still have a lot of people on our streets throughout the pandemic because we still have a population of 11,000 people in 1.44 square kilometres. We do have people walking to go out for lunch and checking out the stores. The streets haven’t been empty in Osborne Village (compared) to other spaces," said Somers.

The report notes the developer completed three rounds of public consultation between November 2020 and June 2021. Salakoh said the feedback led the proposed building’s height to shrink to six storeys. Earlier concepts were based on eight.

City planners do not expect the building to have any major adverse effects on traffic or parking, the report notes.

joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

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.