Mixed-use development touted for Public Safety Building, Civic Centre Parkade site

Winnipeg plans to begin demolishing the Public Safety Building and the adjoining Civic Centre Parkade this summer as a prelude to the redevelopment of an entire downtown city block.​

Demolition slated to begin this summer; construction of residential units, park, market touted for 2020

Winnipeggers look at an artist's concept of the redeveloped parkade and police-station site. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Winnipeg plans to begin demolishing the Public Safety Building and the adjoining Civic Centre Parkade this summer as a prelude to the redevelopment of an entire downtown city block.​

Downtown development agency CentreVenture announced a redevelopment plan for the two city-owned buildings located between city hall and Red River College's Princess Street campus.

The plan calls for the construction of a mixed-use redevelopment with up to 400 residential units, office and retail space and some form of park, as well as an enclosed public market that will pay homage to the site's original use.

The city expects to spend $10.7 million to decommission and demolish the PSB and Civic Centre Parkade and prepare the entire site for a new purpose.

Private developers will pay for most of the redevelopment, CentreVenture president and CEO Angela Mathieson said Wednesday.

"What we tried to do is develop a business plan where all of those things, in terms of mixed-use development, can start to support the public space," Mathieson said.

Winnipeg plans to demolish the Public Safety Building on Princess Street this summer. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The Public Safety Building closed in 2016 after the Winnipeg Police Service moved into its new $214-million headquarters on Graham Avenue. The construction of that project remains under RCMP investigation.

Council approved the demolition of the PSB after a city-commissioned report concluded it would be too expensive to redevelop the six-storey building, originally built as part of a modernist ensemble of civic centre campus structures.

The Civic Centre Parkade, to the immediate north, was shuttered in 2012 because of structural issues and nearly a decade of deferred maintenance. 

CentreVenture sought public feedback on the potential reuse of the entire block, which the agency is trying to rebrand as the Market Lands.

The southernmost portion of the block must be reserved for some form of public use, based on an 1875 caveat placed on the land by its donor.

Mathieson said this section will house the park and public market.

Her agency plans to issue an expression-of-interest document this spring to businesses interested in setting up shop in the redevelopment.

The PSB has been vacant since 2016, when the Winnipeg Police Service moved to its new headquarters on Graham Avenue. (Google Streetview)

Demolition of both buildings will take place in stages, starting this summer, said John Kiernan, Winnipeg's planning, property and development director.

It will take time because asbestos must be removed from the PSB, he said. The Winnipeg Police Service must also move backup servers located in the mostly vacant, heavily alarmed building, he said.

A separate search for developers will be issued in 2019 and construction will begin in 2020, CentreVenture's projected project timeline says.