Rady JCC to turn Grosvenor fire hall into daycare

The Rady Jewish Community Centre has won the bid to convert the former Grosvenor Avenue fire hall into a daycare.
The Grosvenor Avenue fire hall was listed for sale in August 2013 and the city received five offers. (Google Street View)

The Rady Jewish Community Centre has won the bid to turn a former Winnipeg fire hall into a daycare.

The RJCC plans to convert the building at 1710​ Grosvenor Avenue a not-for-profit, subsidized public daycare with 48 spaces.

"We are thrilled and delighted. This means that we are going to have 48 more daycare spaces for pre-school children to provide to our community," said Gayle Waxman, the RJCC's executive director.

Rady had been competing for the space with Ryan Skrabyk, the director of a numbered company that offered $429,000 for the vacant property and planned to turn it into a daycare with 60-62 spaces.

He had originally been recommended by administration as the favoured bid, but at a meeting of the city's property and development committee last week, the RJCC offered up a little more info on its bid.

Waxman told the committee that her group recently toured the outside of the fire hall property with provincial officials, who told them the footprint would not allow for more than 48 spots.

Waxman also said Rady had been approved for $325,000 in provincial funding and expected to add more of its own cash to the purchase and redevelopment. In the end, the full bid from Rady was $410,000.

The information seemed to take committee members by surprise, prompting them to hold off on the deal with Skrabyk, until they could speak to him a little more about it.

On Monday, the finance committee said Skrabyk had pulled his offer, opening the door for RJCC.

"[We are] surprised and thrilled. This is just a wonderful turn of events," said Waxman.

The RJCC already operates a daycare on Doncaster Street, where the community centre is located — a few blocks from the fire hall site.

Waxman said there is a demand in the area for close to 800 daycare spaces.

The new daycare will open within two years.