The words "transformative," "world-class" and "iconic" were used repeatedly Monday as officials unveiled plans for a two-acre public plaza at True North Square in downtown Winnipeg.

"Downtown Winnipeg is undergoing a renaissance," Premier Greg Selinger said as he announced the province and City of Winnipeg are combining to invest $17.6 million in creating the plaza.

RAW: Premier Greg Selinger on the commitment to create a world class public space downtown2:01

"Whether it's the record-high number of people living downtown or the thousands of Manitobans who flock to Jets and Moose games, our downtown is being transformed. While True North Square will include exciting new private-sector housing and retail spaces, we are committing to build publicly accessible spaces, much like other big city downtown squares."

True North Square is a $400-million mixed-use development being driven by the owners of the Winnipeg Jets. It will include a five-star hotel, office, retail and residential spaces as well public art, terraces, cafe seating, skywalks, specialty lighting, streetscaping, street furniture, a water feature and a parkway along Carlton Street, True North Sports and Entertainment president Jim Ludlow said.

True North Square

The $400-million True North Square plan includes a mixture of office and retail space as well as a hotel connected to the recently expanded RBC Convention Centre. (CBC)

The plaza will include a skating rink, public stage, public seating and green space, the province said.

The development, which is in the early stage of construction, with Phase 1 expected to be completed by mid-2018, is located kitty-corner to the MTS Centre, which is also owned by True North Sports and Entertainment.

True North Square video2:29

'Dynamic change'

Ludlow named several major cities across North America with similar plazas and developments surrounding their sports arenas, saying those projects "resulted in dynamic change."

"Our goal is to reach the highest standard of public space design, creating an urban experience that matches the best in North America," he said, adding the location is ideally located near the convention centre and along the rapid transit bus mall.

"The time to make a game-changing move in Winnipeg is now," Ludlow said.

More details, including new architectural drawings and the names of retail tenants and the hotel brand, will be released on Feb. 23, he said.

"True North Square represents a major redevelopment for our downtown and has the potential to be transformative," said Mayor Brian Bowman. "This investment will help bring more people downtown and continues to build a downtown Winnipeg we can all be proud of."