Osborne building will feature robotic parking

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This article was published 03/07/2020 (886 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A residential building planned for Osborne Street just south of Confusion Corner will feature something new to the city: a robotic parking garage.

The building at 265 Osborne would also be part of the new transit-oriented development plan that was created by the city to place residential housing and commercial spaces near transit lines.

Architect Neil Minuk, principal at DIN Architecture, made the presentation about the building plans to the City Centre community committee on June 19. The committee approved the plans, which will now move on to the standing policy committee on property and development, heritage and downtown development on July 13.

Sou'wester Architectural drawing of the building proposed for 265 Osborne St.

The plan calls for a building 15 storeys in height, with 75 residential units, a commercial space on the main floor, a restaurant, a cooking school with a roof-top patio, and the aforementioned parkade with space for 134 cars, with access off the back lane. There will also be a communal office space for residents and a gym located within the building.

“The front along Osborne Street will feature New York-style lofts on the lower levels, with the parking garage at the back of the building,” he said. ‘Then there are a number of more practical units, with two-bedroom spaces, and 45 one-bedroom units on the higher floors.”

The robotic parking is a first for Winnipeg. Drivers will choose one of three entrance bays on the main floor. Their vehicle is scanned for size, and to ensure no passengers – such as a baby or a dog – remain in the car. The car is then lifted upward to a space on levels two to five, and kept until the owner requests its return.

“The system is similar to a rack and rail used on an assembly line for cars,” Minuk, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of architecture, said. “There were two or three different systems for automated parkades, but the one chosen is analogue, so it can be repaired easily. It’s also one that’s used elsewhere in similar climates to Winnipeg.”

The side of the building facing Jessie Avenue will have windows so people can watch the cars being moved. There will be landscaping around the base of the building, including seating in a public plaza. The plans call for short-term bike parking, and bike parking for residents.

“We’re using pre-cast concrete for the building, which is quite robust and assembles with some speed,” said Minuk. “It’s fantastic for fire safety and great for sound dampening. It’s a building method first popular in the 1960s and ‘70s, and has been revived in the last few years.”

Councillor Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) supported the plan, which included rezoning the area around the proposed building as a transit-oriented development. “This is a historic moment for the city,” Rollins said.

She went on to praise the building as a high-rise mixed-use development, with a restaurant that will continue Winnipeg as a food destination, and a rooftop patio for the cooking school. “This is growing up, not out,” she said.

The plan did receive opposition from a nearby resident, who remembered when the vacant lot was intended to be turned into a park. “Jessie Avenue was supposed to include green spaces, parks and gardens,” said Corydon-area resident Shirley Forsythe via a video link into the committee meeting.

Rollins said she will work with the Corydon-Osborne Residents Association regarding the Jessie Avenue greenway plan. 

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