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The owners of a vacant lot on Stafford Street have big plans for a new high-profile development in Crescentwood.
Progressive Real Estate plans to build a four-storey, commercial-mixed use building at 928 and 936 McMillan Ave. The new development will include approximately 1,200-square-feet of commercial space on the main floor; about 8,000-square-feet of office space between floors two and three (which will be a mezzanine); and four 1,450-square-foot residential units on the top floor.
Brendan Salakoh, senior planner with Landmark Planning and Design, a local firm leading the stakeholder engagement on the project, said the proposal contributes to the mixed use corridor that has developed along Stafford Street.
"(The developers) are hoping that this project — the lots are currently vacant right now — would add to that walkable, pedestrian-oriented feel of the street," Salakoh said.
Parking will be handled on-site, and according to Landmark, the 23 spaces provided fulfil the requirements under the City of Winnipeg’s planning bylaw.
Salakoh said 15 spaces will be enclosed on the first floor of the development, with access from the public lane, and completely concealed from the street level. Eight parking spaces will be adjacent to the lane on the south side of the property.
The two lots have sat vacant for a number of years. In 2010, a fire wiped out the two-and-a-half-storey home that had been at 928 McMillan Ave. for about a century.
The property is currently zoned R1M, for a medium residential use, and Salakoh said the developers will be asking the City to rezone the property for commercial mixed-use.
"We’re working with the architect to try to incorporate the feedback that we hear from the public or from the community, particularly the stakeholders that are most directly affected by a project," Salakoh said.
"The concerns that we hear are things like parking, traffic, the look of the building… and trying to preserve trees on-site."
Salakoh said the developers chose to designate space for commercial units and offices, rather than residential use.
"Based on the market research that they’ve done, they feel that would fill a need in the area," he said. "It’s definitely an area that’s attractive as a whole from a walkability perspective, and transit perspective."
Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) said he isn’t surprised to see a proposal of this scale come forward for the two lots.
"OurWinnipeg (the City’s development plan) does talk about densification along our regional corridor streets, such as Stafford, and the two lots are available," he said. "Of course, the neighbourhood is strongly characterized by single family lots, so I’m wondering how it will fit into the context and structure of the neighbourhood."
Orlikow said a commercial mixed use development and single family residential both have merit at that site.
"It is a change from two single family lots to a little bit of retail and residential," Orlikow said. "It is a regional corridor street, and so it’ll be interesting to see what the neighbourhood has to say about that."
The developer is working with Affinity Architecture on the design of the new building, and Salakoh said they have done their best to incorporate character elements from the neighbourhood and use materials and articulation to break up the massing of the four-storey project.
"A lot of the homes along that stretch are two and a half, three storey homes, so they’ve made the McMillan façade look like two buildings in a way, with two separate rooflines, to fit in with that character," Salakoh said.
"Both of the McMillan and Stafford frontages will have a lot of windows and a lot of permeability."
The developers tentatively plan to apply for a rezoning at the end of January and expect a public hearing to be held at City Centre community committee in the spring.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.