A major redevelopment that aims to add 10,000 residential units over 40 years to land adjacent to the University of Manitoba’s main campus is headed for a key vote.
The proposed secondary plan for the old Southwood Golf Course, developed over several years since U of M acquired the land in 2011, is slated for a final council vote on Thursday.
The plan would establish a walkable, "complete community" on 112 acres of land next to the Fort Garry campus, which should tie its amenities and buildings together like never before, said Greg Rogers, chief executive officer of UM Properties LP, the company created to oversee the development.
"This campus vision is for something that would unify a campus that is presently kind of a set of disparate faculty buildings and uses...(It’s) a way of unifying the entire campus under a common master plan that would create a seamless experience from the academic campus to Smartpark to Southwood and create a world class, mixed-use complete community," said Rogers.
In a report, city staff say the development would also create infill buildings in close proximity to the Southwest bus rapid transit line and add density to a campus that attracts about 35,000 people each day during a typical school year.
Rogers said the Southwood lands would be transformed to feature retail options, a grocery store, a bank, a doctor’s office and multiple active transportation trails, as well as residential high rises, condos and townhouses.
"There’s an incredible amount of pent-up demand for multi-family housing (that’s) adjacent to and walkable to the campus," said Rogers.
He noted the U of M campus is the second-most popular commuter destination in Winnipeg, trailing only the downtown.
About 700 metres of waterfront space at the site could also play home to a promenade, among multiple other green spaces, he added.
If approved, Rogers said the complete redevelopment should trigger about $3 billion worth of private building investments and help U of M’s libraries, recreation facilities and other amenities become more fully utilized.
Rogers said the first phase of development is expected to create about 2,000 new residential units on 15 acres of land immediately north of St. Andrew’s College, where proponents hope building construction will begin in 2023.
UM Properties would continue to own the land and offer long-term leases to developers, which would also raise revenue for the post-secondary school.
Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) said the vision addresses a lack of on-campus housing at U of M, which she said is one reason illegal rooming houses have popped up in the area.
She said this plan should offer a wide variety of housing, not just student options, with a focus on active transportation.
"From an active transportation advocate’s perspective, it’s a dream come true … It’s really focused on transit, walking and biking," she said.
The councillor said the plan is also poised to add new life and vibrancy to the campus.
"It would bring people to the area 24/7," said Lukes.
Following Thursday’s vote, specific projects within the plan would require additional city hall approvals.
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.