Osborne Village hotel sold, future of space unknown
Winnipeg's Osborne Village Motor Inn has been sold.
The hotel has long been known for its rock bars The Zoo and Ozzy's, and more recently for its hipster hangout cafe.
The current owners could not be reached, but Stephanie Meilleur, executive director of the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone, confirmed the landmark has been sold.
However, she doesn't know what the plans are for the space at the corner of Osborne Street and Wardlaw Avenue.
She said there are mixed feelings in the area about the sale.
"It's sad. It's an icon that's going to be gone," she said. "It's been there for so many years and brought so many bands and organizations and groups to the core of the village.
"But at the same time people are looking at the upside of it as, you know what, this is great for our future."
Meilleur said the timing is perfect as the Village is undergoing a rebranding with new streetscaping, an outdoor art gallery and a renovation of the bell tower.
But local musicians are worried they'll lose the space as a venue.
May's Disaster guitarist Carl Flanagan said the Zoo was one of the first venues his band ever played, and it only cost them $75.
"There's not many like it," he said. "There's not many that are in that value and can help new bands. You usually spend $500 for a venue, and it's like, a lot of bands can't afford that starting out."
Long-time Winnipeg rock DJ Howard Mandshein said a number of bands got their start at the hotel including The Watchment, Streetheart and Harlequin.
"I don't know if we can birth another room that had that certain dirty, rock-and-roll ambience," said Mandshein. "Rock and roll is guttural and that is what that room was. I'll miss it."
The Osborne Village hotel has not responded to requests for comment.