While a bankruptcy sale continues at downtown Winnipeg's United Army Surplus store, potential buyers are buzzing about the store's soon-to-be vacant landmark building.
Unlike other buildings on Portage Avenue, the huge property at the corner of Portage and Memorial Boulevard is not expected to remain empty long.
More than a dozen buyers have expressed interest in snapping up the key corner property.
"They expect about 15 unsolicited proposals on the property, which is extremely exciting in our downtown," says Loretta Martin, an official with CentreVenture, the city's downtown development agency.
The highly visible site, opposite the Bay and kitty-corner to the Investor's Building, has some companies dreaming big: a few have expressed interest in erecting a signature building at the corner, Martin said.
Murray Bonk, who sells downtown properties, says the parcel— at just over 35,000 square feet— could be suitable for a nightclub, office space, or an extension of the nearby University of Winnipeg.
"It's an extremely high-profile intersection, large traffic counts and very, verygood visibility for a user," he said.
"I think that it certainly could be of interest to an office user that wants a corporate identity. They want their signage out there, and they want the public to know that they're at that location."
Retailers, including big-box stores, might also be interested in the location, although they might find thelimited amount of parking available on the property a deterrent, Bonk said.
For now, United Army Surplus Sales is still bustling with an inventory sale that is expected to continue for several weeks.
In July, the store's creditors voted not to accept its owner's plans to restructure the company, which has been operating in Winnipeg since the 1940s.