Downtown hotel tower plan unveiled

Downtown Winnipeg will begin a major transformation in the fall as work begins on a new $75-million project across from the MTS Centre.
The Mitchell-Copp building (with pillars) and the former A&B Sound building (far right) currently stand in the place where a hotel-commercial complex is planned for downtown. (Google Street View)

Downtown Winnipeg will begin a major transformation in the fall as work begins on a new $75-million project across from the MTS Centre.

Longboat Development Corporation announced details of the 20-storey, 154-room hotel to be built by Quebec-based Groupe Germain Hospitality.

The 200,000-square-foot structure at Portage Avenue at Donald Street will be part of the Alt Hotels chain, and will include office and retail space, a restaurant, and a 450-vehicle parkade. 

Construction is expected to begin in November with some of the facility open in 2013.

The 200,000-square-foot structure at Portage Avenue at Donald Street will be part of the Alt Hotels chain, and will include office and retail space and a 450-vehicle parkade. ((CentreVenture Development Corporation))

"Downtown Winnipeg's historic comeback as an exciting destination for Manitoba families and visitors alike is in full swing," Premier Greg Selinger stated in a news release.

"This major private investment next to the home of the reborn Winnipeg Jets demonstrates the kind of private-sector confidence that results when governments, agencies and community partners work together toward a shared vision of renewal."

Part of the new development will become headquarters for the Winnipeg office of Stantec, a Canadian based professional consulting company, and it's 250 employees.

The site is presently home to the MTS Exhibit Hall (former A&B Sound building) and the Mitchell-Copp building.

Heritage advocates have lamented the doom of those building, which have been around since the 1920s and 1906, respectively. The exhibit hall building was once the Clarendon Hotel, which was first built in 1883 and later demolished and rebuilt to a smaller scale in the 1920s.

In the 1990s, it became the Portage Village Inn before being turned into A&B then abandoned and left vacant for a number of years.

CentreVenture, the city's downtown development agency, which is working with Longboat on the project, has applied to the city's historic buildings committee to remove the A&B Sound building from the heritage list and permit its demolition.

The Mitchell-Copp building, constructed in 1906, is currently vacant after a fire gutted it a few years ago. CentreVentures announced that the pillared facade will serve as the main entrance to the office component of the new complex.

Longboat is owned by the Chipman family, including Mark Chipman who is also the chair of True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

True North owns the MTS Centre and the new NHL franchise that will begin playing there in the fall.