The City of Winnipeg is looking at spending $275,000 to figure out what to do with the Public Safety Building and the crumbling parkade next door.
The 50-year-old building will become vacant once the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) abandons it for a new headquarters at 266 Graham Ave. — the former home of Canada Post's sorting plant.
The WPS will begin moving to the new site in the fall. It is expected to take about six months to completely shift everything over.
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The city has been considering a couple of options for the Public Safety Building, including renovating the space to relocate other city services or have it demolished to make way for more space.
City administration had requested the funding to study all the available options for the Tyndall-stone-clad building, which was constructed in 1965 at the corner of Princess Street and William Avenue.
The building sits across from city hall and is adjacent to the civic parkade, which has been closed since August 2012 due to structural concerns.
The city's Standing Policy Committee on Downtown Development approved the $275,000 funding request for a study on Monday, but a final decision on the spending must still be made by city council.
Lots of potential
The study would allow city planners to decide what's best for the aging structure, said Couns. Mike Pagtakhan and Jenny Gerbasi, who added that a full report would enable city councillors to make an informed opinion about the PSB's future.
Pagtakhan, who heads up the committee, said there is a lot of potential for the one-block site.
"I think there's some merit to a city hall campus, having our city staff close by There's also some merit to having a green space there, looking out, as well as to have some residential development and some mixed use with some commercial as well," he said.
Pagtakhan said he would like to see the Public Safety Building preserved because he likes the building's design.
"If it could be saved, that would be ideal because I'm sort of a bit of an architecture buff and I like the architecture on that," he said. "However, it is kind of falling apart."
The estimated cost to renovate the building is $40 million, which includes the cost of demolishing the parkade.
Selling the land outright is not an option because the city purchased the land for $600 back in the early 1900s with the condition the land be used for civic purposes only.
"That deed basically indicated that the property was sold to the city at a very nominal cost, about $600, on the condition that the property only be used for civic purpose," said city planner Barry Thorgrimson.