The Revitalization of Winnipeg’s Downtown
Winnipeg’s downtown core is undergoing a dynamic rebirth. The Exchange District will see many retrofits of historic buildings in the near future. Many of these projects will be aimed at high-tech sector tenancies.
One of the most exciting projects underway is the new 690,000 square-foot Manitoba Hydro office complex. Downtown has recently welcomed new businesses, such as Winnipeg’s new sports and entertainment complex, MTS Centre and United Equities, who developed a new 40,000 square-foot office building in the heart of Winnipeg’s downtown – the first new office construction in the area in decades. CanWest Global Communications Corp. recently expanded its operations in downtown Winnipeg as part of an ongoing program to introduce new operating efficiencies from the integration of its major television, publishing and internet assets. This includes a fully integrated regional contact centre and a new digital broadcast centre.
Situated in the historic East Exchange area Waterfront Drive stretches from Lombard Avenue north to Higgins Avenue. The project incorporates a landscaped roadway, ornamental lighting, and a redesigned and enhanced Stephen Juba Park along the Red River. The park features an extensive multi-user path system, open areas and several new public art works by local artists. The roadway is designed to promote slow movement of traffic through features like Winnipeg’s first traffic circle at the Bannatyne Avenue intersection.
The $9.1 million project was funded by the governments of Canada, Manitoba and Winnipeg through the Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Program.
Four high-quality, mixed-use condominium developments with over 200 units, representing a projected $48 million in private sector investment – two of which have already welcomed their first residents – are the result of a conceptual vision championed by CentreVenture, the steward of Waterfront Drive lands.
Manitoba Hydro Office Tower
Construction of the new $188 million world-class energy efficient headquarters for Manitoba Hydro is underway. The 22-storey building will encompass approximately 690,000 square feet, including public, retail, commercial and Manitoba Hydro office space for nearly 2,000 employess. It will include the areas required to achieve the building’s energy reduction target of 60 per cent – which would make it one of the most energy efficient buildings in the world.
The building will be connected to the downtown elevated walkway stystem and provides street level retail activity, as well as offering a landscaped public courtyard.
In November 2004, MTS Centre opened, as North America’s newest state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue. The downtown facility provides up to 17,000 seats for concerts and over 15,000 seats for hockey. The design allows for configuring the facility for audiences down to about 4,000.
MTS Centre is a $133.5 million downtown entertainment, sports and performing area complex on Portage Avenue in the heart of downtown. The private-sector True North Sports and Entertainment Limited provided about 70 per cent in project costs; the three levels of government contributed close to 30 per cent.
In its first few years, MTS Centre has already established itself as one of the busiest arenas in North America.
New Research Investment – Biotechnology
- Development of SmartPark at the University of Manitoba houses an incubation centre for life sciences technology, and a $25 million Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals.
- A $3 million breast cancer research facility by CancerCare Manitoba.
- An $11 million Centre for Commercialization of Biomedical Technology located at the National Research Centre’s Institute for Biodiagnostics.
- A $28 million expansion of Biovail Corporation’s Steinbach facility, to accommodate the company’s new biopharmaceutical products.
- Cangene Corporation, a leader in specialty hyperimmune plasma and biotechnology products recently completed a $30 million expansion of its plasma fractionation facility.
Airport Site Redevelopment Project
Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. led an in-depth site redevelopment planning process over the past several years which established a design consistent with their vision of leading transportation innovation and growth on behalf of the community. The Airport Site Redevelopment Program is recognized as the largest single project in the history of Winnipeg at an estimated cost of $572 million. The project is funded through the Airport Improvement Fee.
Scheduled for completion in 2009, the Airport Site Redevelopment Program includes a Terminal Building, which will be approximately 51,000 square metres, a four level Parkade with 1,559 stalls as well as Groundside and Airside improvements.
Winnipeg Floodway Expansion Project
The Red River Floodway Expansion Project will increase flood protection for residents of Winnipeg, East St. Paul and West St. Paul. Once completed the project will protect more than 450,000 Manitobans, over 140,000 homes and over 8,000 businesses and prevent more than $12 billion in damages to the provincial economy in the event of a 1-in-700 year flood.
The expansion is expected to take place over five years (2005- 2010) at a total cost of $665 million with channel widening complete by Spring 2009 and bridge work carrying over until Spring 2010.
To date the federal and provincial governments have jointly contributed $324 million to the project.