Photo: john johnston
core. “Several members of our staff have put down deposits on condominium properties in Glasshouse. This represents a leading edge in urban development where people can live where they work, and play where they live,” he says. Martin comments that Winnipeg is now seeing its third wave of development. The first wave occurred in the early 1900s when Winnipeg saw its boom times and massive downtown expansion. The next wave happened in the 1950s and 1960s with the modernist movement that sought to bring forward thinking change to buildings and the downtown environment. “We are seeing the third wave now with the rebirth and regeneration of the downtown area with new buildings like Centrepoint, and repurposed buildings such as those in the Exchange that are becoming condos and live / work studios. The excitement is in evidence all across the downtown area and we are thrilled to be a part of it.” Another major undertaking is Sky City. This project is getting underway at Graham and Main on a site that has been vacant since the tower at 360 Main Street was built in 1979. Developed by Fortress Real Developments and MADY Development Corp, Sky City is breathtaking in its scope. When complete, the 56-storey building will be the tallest structure on the prairies. The idea, says Fortress Real Development President Jawad Rathore, is to create a mixed use high rise that offers residences and offices alongside commercial and light retail in a setting that is more in keeping with the needs of new urbanists who seek a live, work, play arrangement.
a lot happening. We wanted to be a part of the change.” What Rathore and others envision is a $110 million project that will feature 400 condos in the 600 to 800 square foot range where buyers can live or have them managed as rentals by on-site concierge services. The group is hoping to get as many as 50 percent of these sold before shovels hit the ground next year. As well, the design calls for a 10-storey commercial and service podium at the base, where Rathore’s team is working to attract a national grocer to the site. He suggests that their vision is one where people can really live in the building. “If you have to step out to the grocery store, there would be no reason you couldn’t walk over in your bedroom slippers – even in February,” he says, reporting further that Sky City will be fully attached to downtown’s interior walkway system that offers climate controlled strolling over vast stretches of the area from Memorial Blvd. to beyond Portage and Main.
According to Rathore, Sky City is a project designed to offer excitement at every level with an eye to creating a new community within the downtown urban context. “We want to get away from the car culture where you must drive to do everything. At Sky City our plans are for everything under one roof, and easy connectivity to walkable downtown neighbourhoods,” he says. Certainly one neighbourhood that is an easy walk from Portage and Main is the East Exchange. Here, StreetSide Developments has become a major player in new housing with a wealth of interesting properties on James Street and Market Avenue in historic warehouse buildings. Termed the Cultural District, thanks to its number of major establishments such as the Centennial Concert Hall, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Warehouse Theatre and others that include small venues like Union Sound Hall at 110 Market, the area is now a hive of residential activity with century old commercial structures repurposed into condos. Photo: Mike sanders
“When we looked at downtown Winnipeg, we saw what Toronto was years ago with its surface parking lots and empty buildings. We also saw a lot of opportunity in a great city with
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