January 23, 2020

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Toronto real estate firm plans overhaul of Portage Place

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SUPPLIED PHOTO

THE Toronto-based real estate investment firm that acquired Portage Place Shopping Centre this summer has released its vision for the beleaguered downtown Winnipeg mall.

Starlight Investments plans to overhaul Portage Place (393 Portage Ave.), completely doing away with the well-known pitched roofline and brick facade, in favour of a contemporary modular mall system with new residential towers, elevated skywalk system, and renewed office and commercial spaces.

The redevelopment will add approximately 600 residential units split between two towers on the east and west ends.

Starlight is proposing a mix of student and family housing options, as well as units targeted towards aging in place. A child-care centre and grocery store are also included in the proposal.

The residential towers will have a mix of "market and targeted rental units," according to renderings published online, which will serve as a catalyst for the live/work/play model Starlight is endeavouring to foster along Portage Avenue. Plans also call for an elevated skywalk system and ground-level pedestrian walkways.

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SUPPLIED PHOTO

The sale of Portage Place to Starlight was approved by city hall in July.

The investment firm paid North Portage Development Corp. — the public agency equally owned by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments and administered by a board — $47 million to purchase the land beneath the mall. Starlight had previously offered $22.9 million to buy the mall from its former owner, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based Peterson Group.

The redevelopment will integrate crime prevention through environmental design principles, street-oriented and outward facing retail units, and outdoor courtyards and rooftop gardens.

Multiple calls from the Free Press to Starlight Investment’s corporate office were unanswered Thursday.

Starlight chief operating officer Glen Hirsch told Global News Winnipeg the addition of the 20-storey residential towers and retrofit of the mall will begin in 2021, cost between $300 million and $400 million, and take four to five years to complete.

"We need to create a fresher and a more current look to the mall," Hirsch said.

Officials said community consultation will continue through the new year.

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History

Updated on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 8:43 PM CST: Adds photo

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