Public Safety Building could be torn down after Winnipeg council votes to redevelop area
Vote means former police HQ and parkade will likely eventually be demolished, says councillor
The future of Winnipeg's former police headquarters is looking bleak after city council voted unanimously to redevelop the land where the Public Safety Building currently stands.
The vote, which came down late Wednesday evening, likely means the PSB and nearby civic parkade will eventually be demolished, Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said.
Gerbasi said while it's sad the 51-year-old structure cannot be saved, there were too many complicating factors involved in trying to protect it.
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A city-commissioned report says preserving or renovating the building would be expensive and the land could instead be used to create a small public space.
Architects and heritage advocates had urged the city earlier on Wednesday to preserve the PSB, arguing that the building could last hundreds of years if it's maintained.
The building should be preserved because it showcases a rare example of modernist architecture, they said.
The PSB and parkade were constructed in 1965 in the brutalist style of modernism and clad in Tyndall limestone, but years of freezing and thawing in Winnipeg have taken their toll.
Since 2006, a plywood-covered walkway has lined the street outside the building at William Avenue and King Street to protect pedestrians from the risk of limestone cladding falling from the facade.
The city report says while the PSB has "certain architectural and historical significance," its current state and the limitations of the exterior cladding make it unsuitable for a significant and costly restoration project.
The parking garage has been closed since August 2012 after engineering reports raised structural concerns about the facility.
Gerbasi said the PSB will not be torn down until there is a redevelopment proposal for the site, but the parkade will likely be demolished in the near future.
Mayor Brian Bowman said the motion passed by council allows for demolition of the building and public consultations on how the space should be used.
It is possible someone from the private sector could come forward with an offer to refurbish the building, Bowman said, but he added that he doubts there would be much interest in spending an estimated $100 million to renovate the structure completely.
Downtown Wpg is on the move! Unanimous Council support to redevelop PSB/Civic Parkade lands. <a href="https://t.co/5QLIbWiDt6">https://t.co/5QLIbWiDt6</a> <a href="https://t.co/HatSmM6UIa">pic.twitter.com/HatSmM6UIa</a>—@Mayor_Bowman